JAIL UPDATE: Warren County Board moves forward in new jail build

Published 1:12 pm Monday, December 12, 2022

The Warren County Board of Supervisors is moving into its next phase of planning for a new county jail facility with selection of an owner’s representative for contracting.

Integrated Project Solutions, a Mississippi-based company, will support negotiations of Warren County officials with prospective jail design, build and maintenance partners to ensure the county constructs a jail that is both cost effective and functionally efficient.

This follows extensive county research including guidance from the American Correctional Association, consultation with correctional facility officials and best practices nationally. Sheriff Martin Pace also provided insights from leading jail designs through his vast law enforcement network.

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”The board of supervisors this year solicited proposals from firms with expertise in building and designing jails,” said District 4 Supervisor Jeff Holland. “The selection process identified a group of well-qualified prospective partners with whom the county is currently negotiating.”

The need for replacing the current jail has been understood for years, given its aging infrastructure, much of which was built in 1907.

“The current jail has served our community well for more than 100 years, but the infrastructure is outdated and many areas are inoperable,” Pace said. “Every usable cell block stays at or near full capacity with pre-trial felony inmates, so we have not been able to house misdemeanors or work crew trustees for years. When we exceed capacity, Warren County has to house inmates in other county jails at a greater cost. A new jail is necessary for the safety of our community, the jail staff and the inmates. I’m pleased the Board of Supervisors is moving forward with this much-needed project.”

The new jail is to be built on 42 acres off Highway 80, east of Highways 27 and 61 North, at a location chosen during the previous board administration.

“Following selection and contracting with architectural and engineering firms, the board will begin a design phase,” District 3 Supervisor Shawn Jackson said. “The partner firms will advise how best to balance capacity needs with anticipated costs.”

Methods for funding the jail construction are also being evaluated, with a potential construction schedule and cost estimate to be determined in the coming months. Optimizing the space at a minimum cost will also require addressing federal requirements and other needs such as separation of specific inmate populations or isolation for health reasons.

The board anticipates a final project that meets current needs while planning for requirements in decades to come.