TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- One way or another, county officials say the Lee County Jail has to get bigger.
"We're pretty much federally mandated to do something about that because of the crowded conditions," Lee County Supervisor Bobby Smith said.
Smith said putting the Tupelo Police Department and Lee County Sheriff's Department into one complex -- with a larger jail facility -- has been talked about for nearly a year.
However, there's a snag: the city of Tupelo has not agreed to move forward with that yet.
Mayor Jack Reed Jr. said it's because they're waiting on other possible opportunities.
"The city expects to receive at no cost the deed on the old Milam Manufacturing building on Franklin Street along with some cigarette sting money that has to be used for law enforcement purposes," Reed said.
Reed adds that spot could be a prime location for a new police headquarters.
"In the end, we want to make the best decision, and that decision may not be a shared facility," Reed said.
Lee County Sheriff Jim Johnson said they've actually have been running out of room since moving into the building 16 years ago.
"We were looking at when they designed this building, what they called the 'pod' feature, [where] you can add another pod onto this particular facility [for expansion], but it's only going to address the overcrowding of the detention and the jail," Johnson said. "It does not give you room for the additional staff that it's going to cost to run it, and that's mandated by the state and federal government, that you have to have so many workers per inmate."
Johnson said they've even tried other strategies to cut down on the inmate population.
"[We've implemented] early release, used the ankle bracelets, drug courts. But what people don't understand, we house a lot of state inmates waiting to be transported to Parchman that can not be released," Johnson said.
Regardless of a future partnership with the city, Johnson said the overcrowding problem at his facility needs to be addressed very soon.
The Lee County Jail houses state inmates and county inmates, as well as those arrested in every municipality within the county.
Johnson said county officials hope to move forward with plans for a new faclity or expansion within a year.