HINDS COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – Hinds County leaders, along with Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones, submitted an appeal after a receiver was appointed over the Hinds County Detention Center.
U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves appointed Wendell France Sr. as the receiver of the jail. France is a former Baltimore jail warden and current criminal justice adjunct professor at Bowie State University and Coppin State University. He expected to take operational control of the Hinds County jail in January 2023.
Reeves appointed France weeks after ordering federal takeover for the jail, which had previously been under a consent decree since 2016 to address unconstitutional conditions.
On November 1, the county filed Notices of Appeal of the Receiver Orders, saying the orders should be stayed pending appeal.
Attorneys representing Hinds County wrote that delaying the appointment of the receiver during its appeal “is in the public interest because the Receiver is utterly unaccountable to the voters and taxpayers of Hinds County.”
Reeves is scheduled to hold a Nov. 28 hearing on the county’s request.
The receiver is to be paid $16,000 a month, but Hinds County argues the expense will take money away from other services such as roads, bridges and schools.
On July 29, Reeves put the jail into receivership after citing poor conditions. The judge said deficiencies in supervision and staffing lead to “a stunning array of assaults, as well as deaths.” Seven people died last year while detained at the jail, he said.
Reeves wrote that cell doors did not lock and a lack of lighting in cells made life “miserable for the detainees who live there and prevents guards from adequately surveilling detainees.” He also said guards sometimes slept instead of monitoring the cameras in the control room.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.