Judge: Raymond Detention Center at risk of being controlled by state

Local News

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Hinds County Board of Supervisors has 21 days to prove why the Raymond Detention Center should not be taken over by the Department of Justice.

U.S. District Court Judge Carlton Reeves issued an order on Tuesday, November 23 stating the detention center has been operating unlawfully for years and problems still “remain uncorrected.” As a result, county officials must defend the reason they should maintain ownership.

The detention center has been under consent decree since 2016. The Department of Justice issued the agreement between Hinds County Board of Supervisors to force the county to follow specific guidelines surrounding the facility. The decision was influenced after ongoing detainee-on-detainee violence, staff-on-detainee violence, dangerously low staffing levels and the failure to meet constitutional standards such as “jail policies and procedures, housing and classification systems, the physical plant, internal investigations, detention of persons who should have been released, and the treatment of juvenile and suicidal detainees.”

Since then, the Raymond Detention Center has undergone a sting operation and a total of six deaths, with the most recent detainee death happening in October 2021.

“The unconstitutional conditions have not been remediated—they have no end in sight, in fact. And the
County’s failure to remedy the conditions has caused “needless suffering and death,” including six deaths so far [in 2021],” said Judge Reeves.

Additionally, there has been an upsurge in contraband inside the jail, understaffing, lack of adequate fire fighting equipment, holding cells turning into dumpster cells, many nonfunctional locks on security doors and cell doors along with inadequate medical and mental healthcare for detainees.

It was also discovered by the Monitoring Team, detainees controlled parts of the jail dating back from 2017 which resulted in riots, deaths and major structural damage to the facility.

Judge Reeves declared all of these occurrences serious failures that must be fixed.

The next move is to impose a receivership for the Raymond Detention Center. This is a concept issued by government officials to run institutions where constitutional violations are occurring.

Judge Reeves said Hinds County officials must show why civil contempt and a receivership should not be created against RDC. They have three weeks to compile their reasonings and present in a hearing that will be scheduled at a later date.

To read the full order, click here.

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