SWAT responds to jail unrest - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Sheriff Lewis: I can run the jail if it's maintained properly

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Outside the Hinds Co. Detention Center in Raymond Outside the Hinds Co. Detention Center in Raymond
RAYMOND, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Sheriff Tyrone Lewis is blaming recent unrest at the Hinds County jail on county maintenance crews, not keeping up with repairs on the facility.

Over the weekend, SWAT teams were called in to assist. Armored vehicles entered the gates of the Hinds County jail Sunday to help regain order after inmates again escaped their cells.

"These inmates need to know that we're in charge, and they're not," said Sheriff Lewis.

SWAT teams converged on POD A-3, forcibly returning some prisoners to their cells.

Officials say 10 to 15 inmates popped locks and tied uniforms and sheets together.

Sheriff Lewis says he will conduct random shakedowns at the jail until he gets a solution to the mounting repairs issue.

He says that's to let the inmates know even though they can get out of their cells, they're not leaving and he's in charge.

Lewis gave us a stack of work orders from the past year and a half, that he says have not been fixed at the jail.

The Sheriff is now recommending the county outsource the work, because they're so far behind.

Lewis says his jailers and the inmates are all at risk of injury as long as the inmates are able to let themselves out of their cells.

Hinds County Administrator Carmen Davis says crews have made all the repairs the Sheriff reported to them and that it was the inmates causing all the damage.

"I can run the jail if it's maintained properly with the proper maintenance and proper pre-maintenance which means there needs to be random checks to make sure the building is not falling apart if they see something out of order, fix it," said Lewis.

Sheriff Lewis says he will wait until the repairs are made to pod C, before he gives his recommendation on what direction he wants to go with the rest of the jail.

More technology, including cameras are being implemented into that area, to assist jailers.

While it is an ongoing problem, Sheriff Tyrone Lewis said the jail was fully staff and extra armed manpower was brought in to get the situation under control.

"There was nothing as a disruption or disturbance just a matter of attention to show that they can get out as they please because of the malfunction and the dysfunctional locks," said Lewis.

Thursday inmates got out of POD A and flooded the toilets, sinks and even used fire hoses.

"We're dealing with the same people that rob people in the neighborhood. We're dealing with the same people who rape people in the neighborhood. We're dealing with the same people that commit burglaries in the neighborhood that had freedom to do that stuff in the free world. They don't have any freedom here," added the sheriff.

Hinds County Supervisor Kenneth Stokes wants the county to build a new jail.

"If a person is hurt in that jail we have to pay. If a person is killed in that jail we have to pay. So I think liability is the main issue that the board of supervisors needs to consider," said Stokes.

The sheriff says until the maintenance issue is addressed properly they will beef up security measures including random shakedowns with the force of extra manpower and SWAT teams.

No injuries were reported.

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