With the hope of getting back to in-person visitation privileges, state inmates housed in Alcorn County lined up for COVID-19 vaccinations last week.

Sheriff Ben Caldwell reported to the Alcorn County Board of Supervisors on Monday that the majority of state inmates housed at the Regional Correctional Facility took the first dose of the two-shot series. A number of county jail inmates took the vaccine, as well.

It is voluntary for the inmates, but Caldwell said the Mississippi Department of Corrections is making the vaccine a condition of having in-person visitation restored. The inmates have only had access to remote visitation during the pandemic. Getting fully vaccinated will also allow inmates to return to participating in certain other activities.

The regional prison inmates currently number about 285. To date, the facility has not had a case of COVID-19 among the inmates.

MDOC began mass vaccination of inmates in mid-March, starting with the three state prisons.

MDOC said vaccination is one of the best tools to protect inmates from an outbreak coming from outside. People who visit when in-person visitation resumes will not be required to show proof of vaccination, but temperature checks will be administered, the agency said.

In other business before the board:

Supervisors recognized Charlette Bain Foster, who was recently hired by the Jacinto Foundation as executive director. The foundation’s board of directors also has a new member, Gary Harden.

The county received one bid for household garbage pickup and set a special meeting for May 10 for further discussion.

The board approved paying the additional cost of $76,632.50 to complete the courthouse roof project. The additional cost stems from wood damage discovered as the contractor prepares to install the cornice work, which is the last phase of the roof project.

The board received notice that $500,000 in Appalachian Regional Commission funding for infrastructure improvements for Mission Forest Products has been approved.

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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