Webster County Sheriff says they need to build new jail that meets Federal Building Codes

EUPORA, Miss. (WCBI) – The Webster County Board of Supervisors has hired an architect to draw up plans for a new jail with the current building falling into disrepair, according to the sheriff.

“This jail is not in compliance with (current) standards,” says Webster County Sheriff David Gore. “There’s no other way to look at it. It’s not. It’s not in compliance with Federal Building (Codes) at this time. ”

Built to meet the federal building regulations of 1965, he says the cost of upgrading the current facility would be more expensive than just building a new one.

As far as the cells, the ceilings, the walls, the bars, all of those have to meet a certain standard, ”Sheriff Gore says.

With the cost of upkeep rising higher each year, the sheriff says they’re just about “out of fixes” for the nearly 60-year-old building. He says much of that effort goes to maintaining the jail cells.

“We have gone back here recently and repainted all of the cells and all of the walls, bars everything,” he says. “We have refurbished that.”

Sheriff Gore says the pipe system underneath the jail is all but gone and he had to move his office out to a trailer during the spring of 2021 just so his deputies could have enough space to work.

“Especially when we have (other) law enforcement to come in to work a manhunt, a detail, a certain law enforcement activity, it’s hard to get all of the fish in the bowl,” the sheriff says.

Earlier in December, the Webster County Board of Supervisors hired the Belinda Stewart Architecture Firm in Eupora to draw up plans for the new jail.

“We feel like this was a plus move (with their) ability to work with grants and different things,” Sheriff Gore says. “We think that’s going to be a plus on what we’re trying to do here.”

The sheriff says they currently have two construction options for the new jail. He says the board will work to determine the most cost-effective option to finally update the jail to modern standards.

“For example, a mental health holding cell,” he says. “We don’t have one.”

The sheriff says that both potential plans for the new jail will maintain the current capacity to house around 30 inmates. He says he hopes to talk more with the architect about the plans during Monday’s board of supervisor’s meeting.

“We need a place to work and we need a place to house inmates safely and take care of them.”