DeSoto County officials say hunt continues for jail land - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

DeSoto County officials say hunt continues for jail land

HERNANDO, MS (WMC-TV) - DeSoto County officials said Monday the search continues for land that could be used to build a new jail.

As the fastest growing area in the state of Mississippi, DeSoto County is grappling with the crime problems that typically follow growth, said DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco.

"We are mandated to house 395 inmates," Rasco said.  "Today, we have 304."

Crowding at the existing jail in Hernando is driving the push to build a new facility.

"(We are) walking a very fine line," said DeSoto County administrator Michael Gerriga.  "Obviously, the Board of Supervisors would like to consider expansion or construction of a new jail without any tax increase or any millage increase or adjustment."

Meanwhile, Rasco's his biggest concern is having an additional facility to house the male inmates. A Board of Supervisors committee has recommended that the new facility have 400-500 beds for male prisoners. The panel also proposed that the existing jail in Hernando be converted for female prisoners, juveniles and pretrial detainees.

"What we propose to do is build a facility to house male inmates, then transfer our female inmates to the old jail, where we are moving our males out," he said.

County Supervisors are also grappling with the issues of where a new facility could be built, and how to fund it.  County leaders began looking for a 120-acre location in June, asking landowners to step forward if they were interested in submitting a proposal.

No one, however, has offered up any sites.  A deadline of September 5th has been set for submitted proposals.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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