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Federal Judge Names Receiver for Hinds County Detention Center

U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves has appointed Wendell M. France, Sr., as the receiver for the Hinds County Raymond Detention Center. He starts work tomorrow, Nov. 1, 2022, but will not take over operational control until Jan. 1, 2023, the judge said in an order today. “The Receiver shall be in day-to-day charge of RDC operations,” Reeves wrote.

Hinds County Board of Supervisors President Credell Calhoun said the board will confer with its legal team on what to do next. “We will be getting with them tomorrow. It’s an issue for our legal department at this time,” he told the Mississippi Free Press on Monday after the reporter informed him of the order.

The court had found 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 and the subsequent 2020 stipulated order streamlining reform demands.

“We can’t wait for continued destruction of the facilities,” Judge Reeves wrote in July 2022  and “determined that a Receiver was warranted” to remedy “ongoing unconstitutional conditions” at the facility and ordered the facility to go under receivership. “We can’t wait for the proliferation of more contraband. We can’t wait for another death. The time to act is now. There is no choice, unfortunately,” he stated at the time.

In 2021, more than five people died at the Hinds County Detention Center, court documents show, including 41-year-old Michael Richardson, who was arrested on Oct. 9, 2021, for possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, but died 10 days later when fellow inmates repeatedly hit him on the head.

After the July order, the judge received four suggestions of potential receivers, three from the U.S. Department of Justice and one from Hinds County. Reeves noted that he determined that France was the most suited for the position after interviewing two Department of Justice nominees. One withdrew from consideration.

In this Oct. 31, 2022, order, U.S. District Judge Carlton W. Reeves appointed Wendell M. France, Sr. as the receiver for the Hinds County Raymond Detention Center.

The judge also decided

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