New jail passes first inspection

Published 5:00 am Thursday, June 22, 2000

A veteran security consultant gave the new Lincoln CountyDetention Center a positive review Wednesday during an inspectionof the facility’s first phase of construction.

“In the overall picture, it looks good,” said Dossie Mitchell,from Loc-Tec Inc. in Dallas. “It looks like a pretty securefacility.”

Mitchell and jail architect Shelby Mitchell, no relation, werein Lincoln County Wednesday on their way to Parchman to review newprison construction there today.

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Dossie Mitchell and officials from contractors Paul Jackson andSon, Electric Control Inc. and Secure Tech conducted a door-by-doorinspection of the county’s new jail facility that is expected toopen sometime next week. Inspections of mechanical, electrical andother construction aspects were scheduled for today and early nextweek, said Steve Goodwin, project manager with Paul Jackson andSon.

The consultant focused his review on security door operation.While doors functioned properly in normal operation, Mitchell saidthere was a cycling problem during emergency operation tests onmost of the doors.

Mitchell and contractors said it was nothing major and believedthe malfunction could be corrected simply by realigning wiring inthe door controls. With seven wires for each door, Goodwin saidthere are thousands of wires connected to central control.

After the door-to-door inspection, Mitchell opened and examinedone of the door control mechanisms.

An interior control switch was adjusted and the door assumedproper emergency operation during another test. Contractors plannedto adjust other switches before turning the jail over to thecounty.

During the inspection, Mitchell said he was impressed with acell window blind design. Upturned slats in the windows will allowinmates to see outside, but they cannot see a person standing inthe facility’s parking area.

Jim Lee, architect for the Lincoln County Jail, credited SheriffLynn Boyte with that suggestion. People standing in the parkingarea and yelling at incarcerated friends and relatives is not anuncommon sight at the current jail.

Once inmates are moved into the new part of the jail,contractors will begin renovations to the existing jail. Thoserenovations are expected to be completed in September.

Up from an original estimate of 96 inmates, Lee said Wednesdaythe new jail will be able to house around 128 inmates. Of those, 84will be in the new facility and the remainder in the renovatedcurrent building.

“We reviewed the bed makeup and found were able to get more inthere,” Lee said.

At under $3.5 million, Lee said the Lincoln County Jail is beingbuilt for about one-third what it has cost to build other jailswith over 100-inmate capacities in the state. Lee did not have anexplanation for the cost difference.

Changing a central control panel covering and possibly replacingsome screws were other suggestions the Mitchells made whilereviewing the facility. The consultants said any changes that wereneeded for very minor and that they were impressed with thecondition of the jail.

“We’ve inspected 50 to 100 facilities and this one looks reallygood,” Shelby Mitchell said.