TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- The Lee County Adult Detention Center has had a problem even from day one — a lack of space.
Jail officials would like to know when there will be a solution found for this problem.
It's one Sheriff Jim Johnson has had to deal with since 1997.
"The day we moved in, we had one more inmate than we had beds," Sheriff Johnson said.
The facility is designed to accommodate 202 inmates, but they consistently go over that amount.
Sheriff Johnson said it's not just a matter of space but placing inmates where they need to be.
Many have to be separated.
He can't put violent prisoners with the non-violent population.
There is a separation of the sexes. There is also the matter of the mentally ill who have to be isolated.
They only have two holding facilities.
"Sometimes it can be pretty difficult, so we have to make arrangements and adjustments to try to accommodate those inmates," corrections officer Phillip Johnson said.
There is also a severe lack of space for the administrative staff.
"It's more than looking at 'We're gonna add onto the jail' or 'We are going to add onto it' because of the prisoners. That's just part of the problem. The entire facility is outdated, and the entire facility is outgrown," Sheriff Johnson added.
Jail Administrator Bryan Hall also wishes for more space and, like the sheriff, believes an additional 200 beds could be made available in a new pod that could be built behind the existing facility.
Both believe something has to be done if the county is to avoid the inevitable lawsuits that stem from overcrowding.
"It is a litigation problem. Also, it brings a lot of stress on the population with the jail and officers as well as the inmates because they are in cramped quarters. They start having difficulties getting along with people, so we have more altercations which can bring on litigation and liability also with the county," Hall said.