Grand jury report highlights county courthouse issues

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Last year, the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors approved a grant for $600,000 to restore the county courthouse in order to meet the standards of the American with Disabilities Act. Pearl River County Administrator Adrain Lumpkin has indicated to the Item that the county is moving towards implementing the necessary renovations.

In November, the Item reported on a Pearl River County Board of Supervisors meeting, where District 15 Circuit Judge Prentiss urged the board to begin an expansive renovation of the courthouse. Prentiss added that the possibility could exist that the county could face a court order to renovate the courthouse in the near future.

Recently, a grand jury report was released, which highlights the ongoing cosmetic and hazardous issues, with not only the county courthouse, but the Criminal Justice Center as well.

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According to the report, the courthouse needs cosmetic repair, which includes repainting and repairing of the building itself, changing the seating arrangement in the courtroom, installing technology, like projectors and A/V switching systems, and renovating the public restrooms. The report also highlights repairs, which need to be fixed due to hazardous reasons, including fixing the exposed electrical wiring and outlets, and repairing the sidewalk and outside stairs.

The report also included issues the grand jury found with the Criminal Justice Center. The issues include, lack of enough nighttime correctional officers, lack of a perimeter fence, roof damage, and no “watch step” sign between the inside of the building and the recreation area.

Currently, no specific announcements have been made on when exactly the county expects to fix the issues highlighted in the grand jury report.