Hinds County Grand Jury: Sheriff Lewis incompetent to oversee ja - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Hinds County Grand Jury: Sheriff Lewis incompetent to oversee jail

A Hinds County Grand Jury report calls Sheriff Tyrone Lewis “incompetent” in his job to maintain the county's jail. The four-page report lobs some serious charges at Lewis, stemming from a personal inspection of the jail.

Among them, grand jury members observing a prisoner in possession of a cell phone, another exposing himself to the jurors and less-than-ideal conditions for inmates at the facility. Those aren't the most striking, though.

The report indicates there aren't enough guards at the downtown location, and those who are there are inadequately trained and they're not paid enough.

"We do have a lot of issues going on, and we're trying to address them," said District Two Supervisor Darrel McQuirter. "And the sheriff has a responsibility for the day-to-day operations and for the inmates that are in the facility."

The grand jury agreed, stating in the report that Lewis is incompetent to oversee the jail and keep the public safe from inmates.

Its recommendation: take the responsibility of the facility away from the sheriff.

The Hinds County Board of Supervisors met in executive session during an emergency meeting Thursday. Circuit Court Judge Tomie Green did not go through the report with the supervisors, though; she only advised them of their responsibilities.

Supervisors said they had not read the report, released after the emergency meeting.

“We really don't know at this particular point what steps we have to take, what steps we're going to take as a result of this particular report that we received,” said Hinds County District One Supervisor Robert Graham.

It's unclear whether or not a circuit judge has the power to change the duties of a sheriff, duties that are set by Mississippi law.

Professor Matt Steffey with the Mississippi College School of Law says the move here by a grand jury to recommend changing those duties could be unprecedented in Mississippi.

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