County calls on state legislators for permission to locate new jail outside Vicksburg city limits
Published 9:48 am Thursday, February 23, 2017
The Warren County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Monday to ask the county’s representatives in the state legislature to introduce “local and private” legislation that would allow the county to build a new jail in the county, rather than within the city limits.
Current state law requires jails to be located within the limits of the county seat.
Warren County attorney Blake Teller, who represents the county, outlined for supervisors three ways they could seek a waiver of that legislation.
First, Teller said if the city and county partner on a new jail, it could be located outside the county, but within a mile of the city limits.
Second, Teller said the county could seek a waiver from the state attorney general.
The third option is asking county legislators to try to have passed the private legislation.
Teller said the deadline for legislators to submit local and private bills is March 10.
“The county hasn’t ruled out any site, even one within the city,” Teller said. “We would rather have the freedom to go anywhere. Before we do this, we want to know our options for location. If we can go within the county and not the city, it may present more options.”
If the option of local and private legislation fails, Teller said the county would consider pursuing the other options.
Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr., a former long-time state representative, has told the county commission he would help in any way he can to move forward the issue of constructing a new jail.
On Jan. 31, the county supervisors met with the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Alderman, at that time county supervisors president Richard George estimated work on a new jail possibly could begin in 2019.
Flaggs wants the jail to become reality as soon as possible.
“The city of Vicksburg is in dire need of a jail facility earlier than the 2019 date,” Flaggs said.
He said the city has paid $1.137 million per year to since 2013 to house prisoners in jails outside the county.