Federal report says conditions do not improve at Raymond detention center

Conditions are not improving at the Raymond Detention Center and US Judge Carlton Reeves may be on the verge of seeing the federal government take over the management of the prison.

A report filed by the court-appointed comptroller in the U.S. District Court on Nov. 24 said understaffing at the prison is the biggest problem for the facility, along with a lack of maintenance and supervisors are not held accountable for the actions of detention officers. under their command.

Reeves also issued an order on Nov. 23 stating that the unconstitutional conditions of the Hinds County Jail had not changed in the five years since the US Department of Justice filed a complaint against the county.

Reeves did not rule out the possibility that the county could be charged with contempt and that the jail could be placed in federal receivership. The order says the county has until Dec. 14 to prove why it should not be considered in contempt and that the federal government is taking over the operations of the Raymond County detention center.

The report states that the staff situation at the prison has regressed in the four months since the last surveillance report. As of September 30, there were only 207 positions filled out of 281 funded slots. In May, 229 people were working in the prison. Over the past five years, the number of positions filled has fluctuated from a low of 204 to a high of 256.

The 2020 order issued by Reeves says the county needs a recruitment and retention consultant and the development of a plan to retain existing detention officers and hire new ones. The county says it passed a 5% pay hike for detention officers, but that was not implemented. The Monitor recommends adopting a career ladder, bi-weekly salary, and direct deposits of paychecks.

The Monitor says there are still “garbage cells” four months after the Monitor’s last report and the county should repair and put them back into service as soon as possible. The monitor also says the county is demanding an excessive level of review before corrective action can be taken for routine maintenance projects.

The report also states that after five years of surveillance, prison authorities are still using holding cells to house inmates for days, weeks and even months, in violation of basic correctional standards.

The report also indicates that there are prisons run by gangs and inmate “committees” that reject housing placements for new inmates. Classification of inmates based on possible gang affiliation and other factors is not used in accordance with the framework of the 2020 Ordinance.

The report also states that there is no prison rape removal officer at the prison and that several rape-related incidents requiring medical transportation have been identified by the prison medical department, but no investigation. has been conducted on these incidents. The report states that there has been no PREA-related training for detention officers at the prison.

The report says that while problems with COVID-19 continue to improve, there is still work to be done to increase the number of inmates who agree to be tested and vaccinated. An increase in July, August and September resulted in 90 inmates and staff testing positive. Only 35 percent of inmates are fully vaccinated, 58 percent refusing any vaccination. Testing and vaccinations increased when the prison administrator offered incentives such as a pizza party, but the county stopped funding those incentives. The Monitor says this is a decision that should be reconsidered.

A report filed on Oct. 28 details the six deaths that occurred at the prison, including one incident in which it took nine hours for the inmate’s body to be discovered by detention officers. According to the latest surveillance report, an additional death was reported in November of an inmate with cancer.

The Hinds County prison system is governed by a 2016 federal consent decree and regulation that requires the county to protect inmates from violence from other inmates and abuse of force by staff, in addition to the detention of detainees beyond court-ordered release dates and improper segregation of prisoners.

In January 2020, Reeves issued an order compelling county officials to move forward with respecting the terms of the settlement agreement.

About Kristina McManus

Check Also

Reedy shares soar in US lithium acquisition

Reedy Lagoon shares jumped more than 28% on intraday trading after learning it had expanded …