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Federal Judge Halts Takeover Actions at Hinds County Jail Following Appeal

Three days before the full kickoff of a scheduled receivership, a federal judge suspended takeover actions at the Hinds County Detention Center in Raymond, Miss., following the County’s appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

U.S. Southern District of Mississippi Judge Carlton Reeves appointed a receiver for the facility last October after finding Hinds County in contempt twice, in November 2021 and February 2022, for not complying with the 2016 consent decree it reached with the U.S. Department of Justice to remedy dangerous conditions at the facility and a subsequent 2020 order.

Reeves ordered “the Monitoring Team and Receiver … to suspend their work,” on Dec. 29, 2022. The suspension will remain in place until the appeals court decides the case.

The suspension of the receivership will allow Hinds County Sheriff Tyree Jones to implement his plans for the facility, Hinds County Board of Supervisors President Vern Gavin told the Mississippi Free Press at his office on Jan. 11, 2023.

“We’ve had a turnover in our sheriff’s department and with the death of Sheriff Lee Vance—and of course Sheriff Lee Vance had only come in for a short period of time in that capacity—so there have been a number of different sheriffs, so it’s been under a number of different administrations, if you will,” Gavin said. Vance won an election to be Hinds County Sheriff in November 2019, but died less than two years later in August 2021 after testing positive for COVID-19. Tyree Jones won a special election for sheriff in November 2021.

“And I think it is unfortunate that there were problems at the jail, and with the changes in the administration, those sheriffs, if you will, had not had a good opportunity to implement their operational plan,” Gavin continued. “But I think now that the Fifth Circuit Court has made this ruling, it would at least give Sheriff Tyree Jones an opportunity to implement a plan of action.”

A federal judge has suspended the activity of the receiver he appointed in October 2022 for the Hinds County Raymond Detention Center. Photo by Kayode

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