US judge issues 2nd contempt order for Mississippi jail

Mar 24, 2022, 2:31 AM | Updated: 2:51 pm
FILE - A security notice is posted outside the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond, Miss., on ...

FILE - A security notice is posted outside the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond, Miss., on June 12, 2015. A federal judge has issued a civil contempt order over conditions at the detention center. U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves wrote Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, that Hinds County officials have failed to fix problems in the jail that has experienced violence and lax security. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A federal judge has issued a second contempt order over poor conditions at a county jail in Mississippi, where court monitors found staff members are afraid to work in a housing unit controlled by gangs of inmates.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves filed the order Wednesday against Hinds County because of problems at the Raymond Detention Center, WLBT-TV reported.

The jail is divided into housing units called pods, and Reeves wrote that conditions in Pod A are “particularly egregious,” with gangs carrying out attacks and deciding which inmates receive meals.

“The living conditions, or lack thereof, and near-complete lack of supervision, have contributed to lawlessness in that part of the facility,” Reeves wrote.

Reeves cited the killing of one inmate by others in October in the pod. He wrote that video footage showed the man being hit in the head by one inmate and then stomped on by another. After the inmate died, he was dragged back and propped into a sitting position and was later laid down on a mat. Nine hours passed before officers found his body.

Reeves issued his first civil contempt order against Hinds County on Feb. 4, writing that officials in Mississippi’s largest county had failed to fix longstanding problems in the jail. From Feb. 14 to March 1, he heard testimony about conditions to determine whether to order a receivership in which the federal government would take over operation of the jail, with Hinds County paying the tab.

One of the court-appointed monitors of the jail, David Parrish, testified that Pod A is filthy and has broken lights, locks and showers. He also said the pod lacks fire extinguishers and fire hoses.

“Everything in the place is torn up,” Parrish said. “It’s just a very bad mess.”

The U.S. Justice Department sued Hinds County in 2016 after finding unconstitutional conditions at the jail, including “dangerously low staffing levels,” violence among detainees and violence by staff against detainees. It also found problems with treatment of juveniles and suicidal detainees. And, it said, the jail had cell doors that would not lock.

Hinds County supervisors agreed to a federal consent decree in 2016, saying the county would correct the problems. Supervisors promised again in 2020 to fix the problems as the county faced the threat of being held in contempt of court.

The legal action over the Hinds County jail is separate from an investigation the Justice Department began in February 2020 after an outbreak of violence in the Mississippi prison system.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


File - People shop at an Apple store in the Westfield Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, New Jerse...
Associated Press

A key inflation gauge tracked by the Fed slowed in February

The Federal Reserve's favored inflation gauge slowed sharply last month, an encouraging sign in the Fed's yearlong effort to cool price pressures through steadily higher interest rates.
2 days ago
FILE - The OpenAI logo is seen on a mobile phone in front of a computer screen displaying output fr...
Associated Press

Musk, scientists call for halt to AI race sparked by ChatGPT

Are tech companies moving too fast in rolling out powerful artificial intelligence technology that could one day outsmart humans?
3 days ago
Associated Press

Starbucks leader grilled by Senate over anti-union actions

Longtime Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz faced sharp questioning Wednesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
4 days ago
FILE - The overdose-reversal drug Narcan is displayed during training for employees of the Public H...
Associated Press

FDA approves over-the-counter Narcan; here’s what it means

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved selling naloxone without a prescription, the first over-the-counter opioid treatment.
4 days ago
FILE - A Seattle police officer walks past tents used by people experiencing homelessness, March 11...
Associated Press

Seattle, feds seek to end most oversight of city’s police

  SEATTLE (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department and Seattle officials asked a judge Tuesday to end most federal oversight of the city’s police department, saying its sustained, decade-long reform efforts are a model for other cities whose law enforcement agencies face federal civil rights investigations. Seattle has overhauled virtually all aspects of its police […]
5 days ago
capital gains tax budgets...
Associated Press

Washington moves to end child sex abuse lawsuit time limits

People who were sexually abused as children in Washington state may soon be able to bring lawsuits against the state, schools or other institutions for failing to stop the abuse, no matter when it happened.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.
Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.
SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
US judge issues 2nd contempt order for Mississippi jail