(Hernando, MS) The new DeSoto County Jail welcomed its first residents Monday afternoon, as a bus and two vans filled with women in pink jumpsuits filed in from the new sallyport and into brand-new jail cells.
They made the trip from the old Jail in Hernando, leaving behind less security and a bit of history.
”It’s kind of old, outdated, some parts were built in 1959.It’s been just a band-aid on top of a band-aid,” said DeSoto Jail Administrator Chad Wicker.
Wicker says this jail was designed from the ground up with every modern convenience and security detail in mind.
You won’t exactly find a front-door here, because it’s not built for visitors.
There are however, ways for visitors and inmates to communicate.
The Jail has two touch screen terminals where visitors can talk to inmates, and an off-site location in Hernando where families can visit, or they can video chat from home for about 20 bucks.
And while no one criticizes the design or security here, there is a little concern about the cost.
DeSoto taxpayers spent nearly 16 million dollars to build this jail, money which has County Supervisors looking for ways to economize on expenses to keep from raising taxes.
That’s because the old jail will remain in use until the County can build phase two.
This jail isn’t what you’d call “comfortable” but it’s extremely functional, with a larger kitchen, staff training rooms, and spacious jail pods.
Watching over it all, a staff trained in new technology.
”From a security perspective, it’s top of the line, state of the art. We have 127 surveillance cameras recorded for 144 days.
That’s just something we don’t have at the other facility” explained Wicker, who says DeSoto taxpayers should feel safer with inmates in this newer, more secure jail.