Webster County receives USDA grant for new jail complex

WEBSTER, Miss. (WCBI) – Federal money is helping Webster County get a much-needed new jail complex.

The county is receiving a $3 million United States Department of Agriculture grant to help pay for construction.

The new facility will be behind the courthouse and serve 911 dispatch operations.

The current jail was built in 1964 and isn’t up to modern standards.

Not all of the cells are usable, so the jail can only hold around 18 inmates.

The new jail will allow them to increase that capacity.

The Webster County Jail is nearly 60 years old and if you ask Sheriff David Gore, he’ll tell you it was built for different conditions and a different time.

“Our old jail has nothing, that’s the best way I know how to put it. We are just barely there. The security system here is an updated kitchen facility. You know when that jail was built it was a totally different standard that was set and this jail will be able to go stainless in the kitchen which is required now. You cant have wood walls they will be hardened walls,” said Gore.

The Webster County Board of Supervisors received a USDA rural development grant for $3 million.

The facility will be directly behind the courthouse and will house more than just the jail.

“It’s going to provide us the opportunity to build an operation here that will encompass the sheriff’s office and it will also have 911 in it and it will also have the justice court in it, ” said Gore.

When it came time to put plans on paper, the sheriff didn’t have to look far.

The County has been working with local architect Belinda Stewart.

Stewart said there have been several factors they take into account when designing the facility.

“This is something we have been working on for a while with the county and local sheriff’s dept and it really entailed looking at what their needs are, looking at their existing facility, and looking at the multiple things that could be done together on this site,” said Stewart.

Along with her architectural work, Stewart is also skilled in grant writing.

This has been helpful in getting additional funds for the new jail.

“We discovered a long time ago that so many of our projects need additional funding. Here in small communities the needs and some of the needs they have are greater than other needs or they have funds that can’t be used in this way so we discovered there are other funding sources out there so we want to help our communities and clients,” said Stewart.

Stewart said it has been more than her efforts to get this all together.

“It takes all of those people and all of us working together in order to bring a really successful project and this community lends itself well to that,” said Stewart.

County leaders haven’t announced a timetable for construction yet.

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