KOSCIUSKO, Miss. — Attala County is closing its aging jail for safety reasons.
WLIN-FM (http://bit.ly/2bQYXMG ) reports the county’s Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to close the facility after two attempts to build a new jail failed. Board President Tim Pinkard tells The Associated Press the closure should be complete by the end of the month.
The board says the county has an agreement with nearby Leake County to house all Attala County inmates at a rate of $19 per prisoner, per day. Pinkard said authorities began Tuesday to transfer county inmates there, which is about 20 miles south.
“I just want to assure Attala County residents that we will have a jail, but it will be in Leake County,” Pinkard said. “If you’re arrested in Attala County, you’re going to Leake.”
The jail holds about 24 inmates and Pinkard said there were about 12 housed there as of Tuesday morning. It was built in the 1950s and is one of the oldest in the state. The county has long been trying to build a new jail. Plans were drawn and bids were taken on two separate occasions, but both times the bids came back over the projected budget.
In February 2015, the board of supervisors and the county issued $5 million in bonds to help keep Montfort Jones Memorial Hospital, now Baptist-Medical Center Attala, open until a deal could be reached with MS Baptist Health Systems. The board said those funds were to initially be used for construction of a new jail.
Without money to build a new jail, officials said closing the facility was the county’s only option, mainly for safety reasons.
Sheriff Tim Nail told WLIN-FM that the current small space makes it dangerous for deputies to walk into the cells. Nail said it would be very easy for inmates to reach out and grab them as they walk past.