Federal judge appoints receiver to manage Mississippi jail

Nov 1, 2022, 1:39 PM | Updated: 3:39 pm
FILE - A visitor information sign dots the entrance to the Hinds County Detention Facility in Raymo...

FILE - A visitor information sign dots the entrance to the Hinds County Detention Facility in Raymond, Miss., on Aug. 1, 2022. On Monday, Oct. 31, 2022, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves selected Wendell M. France Sr., a public safety consultant, former correctional administrator and 27-year member of the Baltimore Police Department, to serve as the receiver to temporarily manage the jail and improve conditions. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

JACKSON, Miss (AP) — A federal judge has appointed a receiver to temporarily manage a jail near Mississippi’s capital city to improve conditions.

U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves on Monday selected Wendell M. France Sr., a public safety consultant, former correctional administrator and 27-year member of the Baltimore Police Department to remedy “ongoing unconstitutional conditions” at the Hinds County Raymond Detention Center.

On July 29, Reeves placed the jail into receivership after citing poor conditions for prisoners. Reeves said that deficiencies in supervision and staffing lead to “a stunning array of assaults, as well as deaths.” Seven people died last year while detained at the jail, he said in his July ruling.

Reeves also wrote that cell doors did not lock and that a lack of lighting in cells made life “miserable for the detainees who live there and prevents guards from adequately surveilling detainees.” He also said guards sometimes slept instead of monitoring the cameras in the control room.

Hinds County board President Credell Calhoun told the Mississippi Free Press that local officials will weigh their legal options for how to respond.

Federal and state judges have ordered receiv­er­ships or a similar trans­fer of control for pris­ons and jails only about eight times, according to Hernandez Stroud, an attorney at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

France began transitioning into his role Tuesday, but he will not have full operational control over the jail until Jan. 1. According to the terms of the receivership laid out by Reeves in court documents, France will have 120 days from the date of his appointment to develop a draft plan reforming the jail’s conditions.

France was chosen from a field of four candidates. After conducting interviews, Reeves chose France based on his “diverse experience in corrections and criminal justice system leadership,” court records show. He will be compensated $16,000 per month.

In addition to his experience as a police officer, France served as deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, where he managed a $22 million budget and 400 employees, Reeves said. He has also worked as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Justice.

An online job profile for France also shows that he is the president of a consulting firm that provides “expert witness service to federal, state, municipal government agencies and private attorneys.”

___

Michael Goldberg is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mikergoldberg.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Audience members listen as President Joe Biden speaks at the White House Tribal Nations Summit at t...
Associated Press

Biden pledges new commitments, respect for tribal nations

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Wednesday pledged to give Native Americans a stronger voice in federal affairs, promising at the first in-person summit on tribal affairs in six years that he will bolster tribal consultations, inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in decision-making and funding for communities struggling with the impacts of climate change. Biden […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

El Salvador journalists sue spyware maker in US court

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — Journalists from an investigative news outlet in El Salvador sued NSO Group in United States federal court Wednesday after the Israeli firm’s powerful Pegasus spyware was detected on their iPhones. In January, the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, an internet watchdog, reported that dozens of journalists and human rights […]
21 hours ago
FILE - People hold signs and shout slogans before the cancellation of the Los Angeles City Council ...
Associated Press

LAPD seeks Reddit search warrant over leaked council remarks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Police have sought a search warrant for the Reddit website as they try to identify the person who leaked a racist discussion between Los Angeles City Council members and a powerful labor leader, causing a scandal that has rocked the community and shaken faith in its lawmakers. The LAPD is trying […]
21 hours ago
FILE - AWS CEO Andy Jassy discusses a new initiative with the NFL during AWS re:Invent 2019 in Las ...
Associated Press

Amazon CEO says company won’t take down antisemitic film

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said Wednesday the company does not have plans to stop selling the antisemitic film that gained notoriety recently after Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving tweeted out an Amazon link to it. Pressure has been mounting on Amazon to discontinue sale of the film, called “Hebrews to Negroes: […]
21 hours ago
This photo provided on Dec. 1, 2022, by the North Korean government shows North Korean leader Kim J...
Associated Press

North Korea’s Kim calls for meeting to review state affairs

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for a major political conference before year’s end where he’s expected to address his increasingly tense relations with Washington and Seoul over the expansion of his nuclear and missile programs. North Korea’s state media said Thursday that Kim presided over a meeting of […]
21 hours ago
Associated Press

Immigration agency leaks data on more than 6,000 detainees

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Wednesday that personal information of more than 6,000 people in its custody was inadvertently posted to its website for about five hours. The information included names, nationalities, detention centers where the people were held and unique numbers used to identify them in government records, according to […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Federal judge appoints receiver to manage Mississippi jail