|Gangs inside a Mississippi jail often determine whether other inmates receive meals, a court-appointed monitor testified in a federal court hearing.
Elizabeth Simpson testified Tuesday that staffing shortages are so severe at Hinds County’s Raymond Detention Center that gangs and “inmate committees” control certain aspects of life, including whether some inmates get to eat, WLBT-TV reported.
A former administrator of the jail, Maj. Kathryn Bryan, learned staff would put food on carts to take to the jail’s housing units and would let the inmates distribute it, Simpson said. In two cases this January, detainees in a mental health unit were suffering severe weight loss as a result, Simpson said.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves issued a civil contempt order Feb. 4, saying officials in Mississippi’s largest county have failed to fix problems at the jail. He started holding hearings last week to determine whether to order a receivership in which the federal government would take over operation of the jail, with Hinds County paying the tab.
Simpson testified Tuesday that inmate committees determined whether certain detainees could remain in housing units known as pods.