Corrections is the unsung division

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 19, 2014

By Sheriff David Allison

Guest Columnist 

In my first column, I took the opportunity to provide our citizens with some insight into the duties of our 911 dispatchers.

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In this second column, I would like to inform our citizens about another unsung division within the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department; corrections.

Many people may not realize that our jail houses up to 475 inmates.

Currently, we average about 330 inmates. We house a variety of inmates, which include Federal inmates awaiting trial, joint county and state work program inmates or trusty’s, the inmates in green and white stripes that pick up litter, clean county buildings, etc.; state drug and alcohol program inmates, which are state inmates housed at our jail that receive drug and alcohol rehabilitation; inmates who are arrested in Pearl River County and awaiting trial or unable to make bond; and inmates awaiting trial or who have been sentenced in Justice Court.

It takes special people to work in a corrections environment.

Our corrections officers deal with a host of issues, which include, inmate complaints, medical needs, feeding, court appearances, visitation, introduction of contraband, cell block searches, transportation for court appearances, medical appointments, court ordered transfers, chancery commitments and youth court transports. They also handle booking and fights.

The list goes on.

Our jail staff is a vigilant and hard working group of people that I truly appreciate.

Through the leadership and efforts of our Jail Administrator Major Julie Flowers we were the first county jail in the state of Mississippi to receive accreditation from the American Correctional Association (ACA) in January 2012.

This was a major accomplishment as it has significantly reduced the number of lawsuits and opened the door to house more federal and state inmates.

What that means for Pearl River County is lower operating cost and increased revenue.

We contract our medical and mental health care with Health Assurance. Their staff has been able to save money by way of many in-house services. The Health Assurance staff was instrumental in the accreditation process. Our food preparation is contracted through ABL, which reduced the cost of meals for this facility.

I hope you will join me in thanking our corrections officers for all they do for Pearl River County.