Feds said jail unsafe just before brawls with pipes, knives injure 6

Published 11:05 am Monday, July 1, 2019

A U.S. Department of Justice report called a Mississippi jail unsafe and violent only hours before brawling inmates sent six more people to a hospital.

The Clarion Ledger says jail monitor Elizabeth Simpson’s report Thursday blamed staff shortages for a series of assaults, escapes and riots at the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond.

Hours later, rival gangs in the jail attacked each other with pipes and homemade knives in in a fight over contraband.

The report says staff shortages have left jail housing without direct supervision, meaning the “inmates, rather than the officers, are in charge of the facility.” The Justice Department wants the county held in contempt for missing improvement deadlines.

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Sheriff’s Attorney Claire Barker says progress is being made and staff shortages are a nationwide problem.