Jones Co. Sheriff’s Dept. addresses jail overcrowding allegations

6pm Headlines 12/21
Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 10:12 PM CST
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JONES COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - Allegations of overcrowding in the Jones County Adult Detention Center have inmates’ families concerned.

But Jones County Sheriff Joe Berlin says overcrowding is the new normal.

“The overcrowding in the jail here in Jones County is going to be normal because we are a proactive department,” Berlin said. “We’re not going to stop arresting people because our jail is overcrowded, and you know these people need to be in jail.”

“Yeah, it’s going to be overcrowded. We’re a 160-bed, and we stay around 230 inmates.”

JCSD has recently been aggressive in the number of arrests it makes. Chief Deputy Mitch Sumrall says the department is hiring corrections officers to help deal with the overcrowding.

“It’s not that we are short-staffed, it’s just the fact that Jones County has never seen this many criminals being put in jail before, and I think the population of the jail is higher than it’s ever been,” said Sumrall.

“We’re serving bench warrants, indictments, our narcotics unit never stops, our CID unit never stop. We encourage our officers to put criminals in jail, and the result of that is an overcrowded jail.”

Although complaints about the conditions have been raised, Sumrall says every inmate has what they require by federal law.

“But every inmate down here has got exactly what they need, exactly what they are required to have by law,” Sumrall said. “You know they get mad, they call home and say this or that, but the truth is every inmate has exactly what the federal government requires them to have.”

The sheriff’s department says the inmate population fluctuates depending on indictments and arrests.

WDAM asked if there were plans for an expansion of the jail in the future, and at this time, there are no plans.

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