12 News Investigates: Are Hinds County leaders complying with detention center consent decree?

12 News Investigates

HINDS COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – A recent attack on a detainee at the Raymond Detention Center and crackdowns at the facility are once again being called into question. Is Hinds County falling in line with the terms of the federal consent decree that was filed in 2016?

WJTV 12 News’ Anna Farish received conflicted statements from the Hinds County Board of Supervisors, Board president and the Department of Justice.

On Tuesday, Hinds County interim Sheriff Marshand Crisler announced the passing of detainee Michael Richardson.

“The preliminary report suggests that one of the detainees, identified as Michael Richardson, was assaulted by two other detainees whose identities are still pending the preliminary investigation,” Crisler stated.

During a news conference, the sheriff addressed the declining state of the jail and its impact on crime inside.

“Until we get a fortified and safe facility, we’re afraid these types of incidents could happen again,” she said.

The sheriff said the jail, which was built in 1995, was constructed on faulty ground and has been failing since day one. In 2016, a federal justice consent decree was drawn up to force the county to follow specific guidelines surrounding the facility. Failure to comply could result in a federal takeover.

In a status report from July 2021, POD A, where Richardson was found, was mentioned as having little to no supervision.

“We going to check everything. We’re not going to just be comfortable with the fact that MBI is going to come in here. And let me be very clear about this, the evidence shows that these people committed murder and charged with murder. It’s just that regardless of whether they were complicit, or naïve or neglectful. We’re going to hold them accountable,” said Crisler.

Hinds County Board of Supervisor President Credell Calhoun said the decree is currently ‘on hold’ while the county, jail administrator and the sheriff’s office work on bringing it to standard.

“Ye’s it’s on hold for right now, and with, like I said, that one of our recommendations from (Katheryn) Bryan at the Justice Department. DOJ is on board with that and that the Board is on board with supplying with her what she needs, (for us) to get out from under that,” said Calhoun.

The Board president said the jail administrator believes she can turn things around at the jail in the next year or two, and the Board has full faith in her ability.

Calhoun stated the Board would like to build a new jail, but until they are able, they have to work with what they’ve got.

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