Lauderdale County, Miss. Lauderdale County's jail overcrowding problem almost hit a peak Monday morning. At that time 289 inmates were being housed in the Lauderdale County Detention Facility; that was one person shy of the facility's maximum capacity of 290.
When it comes to jail overcrowding, Sheriff Billy Sollie says that one of the main problems is a backlog in court. In fact, in some cases he says inmates wait months or even years for their case to go to trial.
"About 2/3's of our inmate population are here on felony charges and are awaiting a trial date. We have one inmate that's charged on felony crimes that's been here almost three years."
The district attorney and two judges who serve Lauderdale County work within the county at least half of each year; the rest of the time they work in Kemper, Clarke and Wayne Counties. With increasing demands on the court system, Sheriff Sollie says Lauderdale County is one of many areas that's forced to deal with jail overcrowding.
"I think it's a growing trend where you have repeat offenders who can't post bond after they've been charged with a second round of offenses. Again, if they can't post bond they're housed here."
Meanwhile, Board of Supervisors president, Hank Florey, says some county officials are planning to talk with court officials about whether or not there is a feasible solution that would ease the court backlog and jail overcrowding.
The maximum capacity at the Lauderdale County Detention Facility is 290; 289 inmates were being housed there Monday morning. Of those, 169 were jailed on felony charges awaiting trial. To help with the dilemma, 14 Lauderdale County inmates are currently being held in the Kemper County jail.