- Associated Press - Friday, October 3, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A Hinds County grand jury is criticizing management of the local jail and is suggesting the facility be removed from day-to-day oversight of Sheriff Tyrone Lewis.

The report was released Thursday after a meeting of the Hinds board of supervisors. Board President Darrel McQuirter said supervisors took no action, pending a further review.

The report indicates there aren’t enough guards at the downtown location, and those who are there are inadequately trained and they’re not paid enough. The report also details less-than-ideal conditions for inmates.

The grand jury, which was convened during the July term of circuit court, questioned Lewis’ ability to “keep pretrial detainees or state inmates in a safe manner or to keep the public safe from the inmates.”

Lewis said Friday the detention center has become a prison.

“I want you to understand this is the sole root of our problem. The different between the two is very, very important. A detention center is a place where detainees are held for a short period of time, mostly less than one year, until their cases are heard. I can tell you this is not happening in Hinds County because the court system isn’t functioning properly,” Lewis said.

Lewis said the backlog of prisoners contributes to the overcrowding and violence.

“Right now, I have over 50 detainees who have been here in these facilities more than two years waiting for trial, and I have one individual who has been held for seven years and another for eight years. Now this is very, very unacceptable,” Lewis said.

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