JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Following over a month’s long hearing of United States vs. Hinds County, Federal District Court Judge Carlton Reeves issued a decision that the Raymond Detention Center will remain in civil contempt.

Reeves said the evidentiary hearing proved that problems with staffing, use of force and inadequate living conditions are still prevalent, but Wednesday’s decision specifically focused on the conditions of the A-Pod Unit.

“The February 2022 Evidentiary Hearing demonstrated that the problems in A-Pod are numerous and severe with no end in sight. For example, detainees have reported that most of the showers in A-Pod do not work, and this has been a consistent problem. The HVAC system doesn’t work and there are plumbing and electrical issues,” said Judge Reeves.

Expert witnesses responsible for monitoring RDC took the stand throughout the hearing to discuss their findings while the jail was under consent decree.

David Parrish, who is a part of the United States monitoring team, pointed out how surveillance video captured an inmate “being hit in the head, stomped on several times and dragged across the mezzanine.”

The inmate succumbed to his injuries. He was not discovered by officers until almost nine hours later, according to Parrish.

From additional findings, it was also discovered there were still major security issues with A-Pod.

“Detainees can access the roof, and there have been ‘breaches.’ As Mr. Parrish testified, detainees routinely escape, breaking out through the roof, only to return with contraband,” said Reeves.

In 2016, Hinds County’s Board of Supervisors promised to fix the problems by agreeing to a consent decree, but “the County’s word has been and still is seriously called into question on many fronts.”

Reeves said the evidence presented was “clear and convincing” that Hinds County and its Board of Supervisors have failed to follow the consent decree and the stipulated order related to A-Pod, therefore, the County will remain in civil contempt.

This is the county’s second issued order of contempt.

District 3 Supervisor Credell Calhoun believes the best way to end the consent decree is to build a new facility that’s projected to cost roughly $130 million.

“I don’t think anybody can do more than what we’re doing as a board. we are putting all the funds that we can afford into a new facility and in the old facility that we have. we’ve spent over four million dollars in the old facility. it’d be as much as 60 million in the first phase and total will be over 130 million. so, we’re doing all that we can as a county and what the taxpayers can afford anyway,” said Supervisor Calhoun.

According Supervisor Calhoun it would take about a year to fix the current problem at the jail and 18 to 24 months to build a new one.

The Hinds County Supervisor said they also raised the starting salary for detention officers to $31,000 a year to create more competitive wages and increase staff.

If the jail was to fall into a receivership, an appointed operator would bring the facility into compliance under the consent decree. The receiver could could make budget requests from the county, and day-to-day jail operations by the sheriff could change.

To read the full order, click here.