The U.S. Department of Justice has found that Mississippi’s Hinds County jails are “facilities in crisis,” the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports. A federal report finds that they have failed to protect prisoners from violence by other prisoners and improper use of force by staff, that the county violates prisoners’ constitutional rights, and that prisoners are detained beyond court-ordered release dates.
The DOJ report details systemic deficiencies in a 594-bed facility in Raymond, built in 1994, and a 192-bed facility in Jackson, built in 1974, that contribute to serious harm and risk of harm. Sheriff Tyrone Lewis said his department was not surprised. “This highlights what we’ve been saying since we were in office since 2012,” Lewis said. “We appreciate what the DOJ has come in and done. It echoes everything that we’ve said about the issues and the flaws that we’ve been dealing with, including the relationships that we should be having with the components that make up the jail system and the criminal justice system.” The report says that in the past three years, at least three major riots occurred, resulting in one prisoner’s death and the closing of entire housing units. DOJ documented rampant prisoner-on-prisoner violence, including an additional prisoner-on-prisoner homicide and a remarkable volume of contraband.