The board voted unanimously to approve the agreement at their regular mid-month meeting last Wednesday. Aldermen approved the agreement the night before.
The new six-month interlocal agreement requires the city to pay $6,000 per month for rental of the space occupied by the police department along with $25 per bed per day for 10 beds for prisoners in the county jail. The city will be responsible for any medical needs or transportation required for city prisoners housed in the jail.
Any city prisoners beyond the 10 beds allowed in the agreement will be transferred to Tishomingo County to be housed.
The city and county have struggled in recent months with a rising jail population limiting the number of beds available for city prisoners.
The board tabled for further consideration a request from the Langston & Lott law firm to join a lawsuit being filed against several major drug manufacturers seeking to recoup costs to counties associated with the overprescribing of prescription opioid pain killers.
Lawyer Dustin Childers of Langston and Lott told the board studies show Mississippi, and Prentiss County in particular, has an unusually high number of prescriptions being written for these types of medications. He said drug companies are have a responsibility to track prescribing data and should take steps to prevent the overprescribing that can lead to addiction.
He said counties face increased costs for law enforcement, incarceration and other areas due to drug addiction and the suit will seek to hold the manufacturers responsible.
Childers emphasized there would be no risk to the county in joining the suit since the attorneys and other fees would be paid out of any settlement and the law firms are fronting the money for the litigation with a guarantee of no costs to the counties taking part.
Board members agreed to consult with their attorney, who was not present at the meeting, and consider the matter further in the future.