MDOC to use portion of old Forrest Co. Jail

MDOC to use portion of old Forrest Co. Jail
Old Forrest County Jail/Photo credit: WDAM

FORREST COUNTY (WDAM) - The former Forrest County Jail in downtown Hattiesburg will soon have another new tenant conducting business.

The Forrest County Board of Supervisors announced Monday that officials from the Mississippi Department of Corrections are interested in leasing office space.

"Under Judge Bob Helfrich's leadership, basically MDOC was approached about moving their operations to our facility from Clover Leaf Mall," Forrest County Board of Supervisors President David Hogan said. "They had some contractual obligations with the Clover Leaf Mall, those obligations have gone away, and we've gotten into more serious negotiations."

Hogan said the jail renovation process began back in 2015 and has since been made the home to several county departments.

"We have currently the drug court operation in there, the veterans court operation in there, we also moved our public defender's office out of rental space downtown, into the old jail," Hogan said.

Hogan added that the first two administrative floors are being used, and the upper floors of the jail are used for storage for different county departments.

"We believe we have a deal worked out with them where they will be leasing approximately 3,400 square feet in the old jail facility for their probation program," Hogan said. "The probationers will be coming in to report to the MDOC officers there at the old jail location."

Hogan said with the new tenant looking to be in the facility, it will make the county some extra money.

"We save some money by not having to pay rent for the public defender's office, and we will see some new revenue with regard to MDOC moving into the facility," Hogan said.

Hogan said he expects the MDOC office to be set up by early July 2017.