With Meridian's recent crackdown on crime, police officers are making more arrests, and when someone is arrested in the city of Meridian, they go to the Lauderdale County Jail. The jail was built in 1997 when crime rates were lower, but Sheriff Billy Sollie says that times have changed, and it just isn't working anymore.
"With today's crime, it cannot hold all the bad guys and bad girls in Lauderdale County."
The city has a contract with the county that states that no more than 45 inmates from the city may be housed at the county jail at any one time, but this past weekend there were 58 city prisoners there. That brought the jail which has a capacity of 280 prisoners to 287, and when they go over capacity, their fees with their healthcare provider go up, and Supervisor Wayman Newell says that's money they just don't have.
"My concern is that it's costing the county more to house 280 people, and we're not equipped manpower wise to house more than 280."
Other nearby jurisdictions are using alternatives such as ankle bracelets to incarceration to avoid jail overcrowding, and Sheriff Sollie thinks that using some of these different techniques are win for everyone.
"They are still able to go to work. They are able to stay at their house. They're able to pay their own medical bills, but the Court of Jurisdiction has deadlines that if you don't meet, then you get picked up."
A meeting between city and county officials is planned to take place soon to address the issue.