No Progress in Jail Contract Dispute

By: Tametria Conner Email
By: Tametria Conner Email

It has been back and forth between Lauderdale County and the city of Meridian over a contract for the county to house city prisoners.

City inmates were moved out of the Lauderdale County Jail Tuesday night. All but one were released by city officials.

As of Wednesday evening, city and county officials still can't agree on why it happened, or what to do next.

But board president Ray Boswell says every time the board tried to negotiate with the city there's been a dispute.

The board says the town of Marion agreed to the increase, but the city refuses, and the board of supervisors says it can't see the rate going any lower than $30 a day per inmate.

Boswell says by the time you calculate gas and transport expenses, it's going to cost more to house city inmates in Newton County than in Lauderdale County. Newton County agreed to house city prisoners for $20 per day per inmate.

Using reminders, phone calls, letters to the city council and city administrators, board of supervisors president Ray Boswell says the county has tried to sit and talk with the city regarding this matter.

"You either pay it or you don't pay it," said Boswell.

Boswell said he only got one response when Mayor John Robert Smith showed up to a meeting Sept. 12. Boswell said Smith stayed 5 minutes and got up and left. The mayor said that's right, because he was not willing to accept the board's demands.

"I can't allow the people of Meridian to be held subject to that kind of behavior by Mr. Florey, Mr. Boswell, and Mr. Newell at the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors," Smith said.

Several board members say they are ready for all of the bickering to stop between the city and the county, that it has gone on for decades and they just need to get along and agree on this jail contract.

In the meantime, the mayor says, starting Thursday, if the city has prisoners they will be transported to the Newton County Jail. The city has a temporary agreement with Newton County to house Meridian inmates. That agreement ends Jan. 1.


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  • by Anonymous on Oct 2, 2008 at 12:23 PM
    It's important for people to know that the board of supervisors would determine the contract with the city over fees for prisoners. I don't say the sheriff has no input. But it's up to the board to make deals with another government body, or approve contracts, not the sheriff.
  • by Anonymous Location: Meridian on Oct 2, 2008 at 12:15 PM
    How much longer before we can vote OUT John Robert and Billy Sollie ( Billy please take Ward Calhoun with you)? I am sick of them! They have been in office so long they think they own the city and county!
  • by Anonymous Location: Meridian on Oct 2, 2008 at 07:02 AM
    agree with Brian, it is time for the City and County governments to be merged into one. If I were a business looking to locate in Lauderdale county, I would run the other way. Does the Board of Supervisors not realize that Meridian is in Lauderdale county? Why should the city of Meridian inmates not be considered as Lauderdale county inmates? I applaud John Robert Smith for getting up and walking out on Ray.
  • by Loretta Location: Meridian on Oct 1, 2008 at 08:28 PM
    I can live off less than 23 dollars a day.I think it's sad when the inmates are living better than Im am..Let me go out in do a crime to sit in jail to get treated like a Queen.
  • by ed Location: Meridian on Oct 1, 2008 at 08:19 PM
    well yes it will be more to put them up there would guess about $50 per inmate so would make scene to pay the 30 they ask for here
  • by lee Location: meridian on Oct 1, 2008 at 08:04 PM
    I think it's ashamed for inmates to be released over a money dispute to go back into the community and commit more crimes on the innocent tax paying citizens. If the cost to house an inmate is so high to pay the county you should build your own jail and feed the inmates three good meals a day,provide medical care,police officers to work in the jail,and other operating cost. Surely you have enough money to do this with the high taxes you receive. I guess all city inmates are hoping this isn't settled because they will be released. What happens when one of your former inmates is let back out into the public to steal or rob somebody and it results in a murder. ARE YOU LIABLE!!!!
  • by bubbathebusdriver Location: on the bus on Oct 1, 2008 at 06:32 PM
    it sounds to me like ole JRS is wanting his way again. Doesn't feel good when the gun is held by someone else??? ok JRS just pay the bill and move on with going green
  • by Anonymous on Oct 1, 2008 at 06:08 PM
    i could be wrong but i think the reason the mayor is so mad is because the city also paid alot of money for that jail to be built. i dont know the percentage but it was a good amount. maybe someone could find that out and post it for us. i hear the city paid 50% of the cost for the jail. i could be wrong, someone let us know.
  • by Bettye Location: Lauderdale on Oct 1, 2008 at 05:48 PM
    If John Robert Smith can feed a person for $30.00 a day let him do it. It is hard with the prices of food going up every day to feed a person 3 meals aday for less than $35 a day. I can't b;ame the county for raising the price for meals.They also have to have someone to oversee the prisoners. Mr Mayor yoy have a bargain for $30. You best grab it.
  • by arlene Location: City res. on Oct 1, 2008 at 04:40 PM
    Thank you mayory as a city taxpayer we should not have that kind of treatment from the supervisors in dictating the price of the jail we already pay 52n % of the cost. Does ythe county pay $30.00 per person?
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