JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Jones County Detention Center will see new upgrades coming this summer.
The more than $1.5 million project was approved by the Jones County Board of Supervisors.
Major Jamie Tedford with the Jones County Sheriff’s Department said the jail has not seen any major renovation since its opening in 1995. As a result, the jail continues to deteriorate, causing major safety issues for the guards as well as the inmates.
“The tile and stuff in these showers,” said Tedford. “You’ll see them digging that tile up and we’ve said for years now that they’re digging that tile up to make shanks out of it. The metals that are coming out of these doors they’re making shanks out of it. They’re cutting their mouth with it, they’re cutting their wrists with it."
Tedford said one area he wishes to renovate is the waiting room. As of right now, the jail is open for anyone to walk in.
“We’ll put a metal detector in the front and get this secured,” said Tedford.
The biggest concern for the facility is the functioning of the locks and doors. Tedford said this is especially important since they only have three guards at a time working a floor filled with 190 inmates.
“We’re having to unlock most doors with our keys which is very, very unsafe,” said Tedford. “Our floor guys have the keys. It’s just like the old days where you have to go in there and unlock it. Another thing is if something was to happen and an inmate was to gain control of these keys, that would be a big safety issue because they would have access.”
Tedford said the jail’s sanity hold will also see upgrades. He said none of them are padded, which can be dangerous when dealing with a mentally unstable inmate.
“There in there for reasons, for mental situations,” said Tedford. “They don’t need to be here in jail, a lot of them, but the way that the system is set up if they’re combative, who’s going to deal with them?”
Whether it’s upgrades to the cameras, doors, showers or locks, Tedford said the lists of needs are endless.
The winning bid for the project is Noah Detention Construction who specializes in detention center renovation.
Tedford said construction is expected to take place in July and be complete by next year.