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Talks continue for Adams County Jail to house Natchez prisoners
from Staff Reports - NEWS
October 17, 2017 -

By John Mott Coffey

NATCHEZ, Miss. -- Natchez and Adams County officials are working out an arrangement to put all city inmates in the county jail as a cost-saving move to consolidate at least one duplicating sector of city and county governments.

The idea of closing the city jail and moving prisoners to the county jail came up last month as Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell and city aldermen struggled to find ways to save money and balance the city budget.

Adams County supervisors discussed jail consolidation Monday and will continue talks Thursday. After earlier being told Monday that county Sheriff Travis Patten was against taking city jail detainees, they now appear close to an agreement, said county board attorney Scott Slover.

Natchez Police Chief Walter Armstrong met Monday with county supervisors. He urged them to allow city inmates to be housed at the county jail as he appealed for a reconsideration of Patten's apparent rejection of the proposition.

"For the life of me, I don't know what the hold-up is," said Armstrong, telling supervisors how the city and county should join in combating crime. “I think we can do it by working together.”

Patten did not attend the meeting, but a deputy told supervisors the sheriff was against the county jail holding city prisoners. County board President Mike Lazarus expressed bewilderment about why the sheriff would oppose consolidating the city and county jails. "I would hope he would come out with a rationale," Lazarus said.

However, after the meeting, Slover later said an apparent jail-consolidation deal has now been reached on how much Natchez would pay Adams County to hold city inmates. "The sheriff and chief discussed consolidation, and it looks like both sides will agree to $30 per inmate per day. We will approve the agreement, I believe, this Thursday," he said.

The Natchez City Jail on D'Evereaux Drive holds three to eight inmates a day, Armstrong said. The city jail has 10 employees. The Adams County Jail on State Street daily averages about 90 inmates, according to the Adams County Sheriff’s Office website. It has 18 jail employees.

Government consolidation advocates have for years been calling for Adams County and Natchez to merge its law-enforcement agencies. City officials have asked Mississippi State University’s Stennis Institute of Government to do a city-county consolidation study. | © 2014 | All Rights Reserved
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