PASCAGOULA, Miss.–The new Jackson County jail is less than six months away from being done. When it is finally complete and inmates move into their new homes of steel, the jail will be able to hold nearly ten times the number of inmates the previous facility was originally built for and will be able to easily withstand a major hurricane.
One challenge Jackson County faced when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005 was what to do with 400 inmates. They sheltered in place and the jail took on water.
County Supervisor Mike Mangum told News Mississippi that the new facility is being built high enough off the ground to avoid that happening again. He said that sheltering the over 400 inmates in the lockup now would not be much of a problem if another major hurricane hit the coast. The cells are pre-fab and are extremely sturdy, so that even if the main roof collapsed, the individual cells would not be damaged.
“It’s a modern design, the latest techniques in correctional facilities,” he said.
It took years to find an architect and a company that was capable of building what the county needed.
“It’s a company out of Alabama called Caddell Construction, out of Alabama. They were the low bidder on it.”
The original jail was built in 1979, with 79 beds. They bunked those and came away with about 160, said Mangum.
As the county grew, so did the crime, and the number of offenders.
“We added two pods on it and we’ve got two temporary units.”
That brought the number up to 420, which leaves the county no head room. The new jail is coming along. It’s in an industrial part of Pascagoula and right next to a state prison. Mangum said with over 700 beds available, a 360 degree guard tower in all three pods, separation of inmates (violent from non-violent) and inside recreation yards, the county might recoup some of the money spent on the jail by housing some federal inmates.