County leaders speak out after NAACP voices concerns over new jail plans

JACKSON, Tenn. — County leaders speak out after the Jackson-Madison County Chapter of the NAACP voiced their concerns over the commission moving forward with the new jail plans.

Screen Shot 2016-08-17 at 12.40.55 PM“The juxtaposition of the closing down of five schools with the county’s intention to spend a large sum of money to build a jail demonstrates a tragic misalignment of priorities,” Harrell Carter with the NAACP said.

Gary Deaton with the County Commission said that the $210,000 approved on Monday night is for phase one and two of the new jail plan, where the commission will look to see what the best options for the county are.

But the NAACP said they want to see that money spent on education rather than the jail.

“We are funding education — that is not the problem. There are other problems deeper than that. More and more money in education is not going to change our situation,” Chairman Deaton said.

Deaton said the county has to do something about the jail because of overcrowding, older buildings and other problems with the jail that don’t meet state requirements.

The county mayor says the NAACP raises valid concerns for the spending but that education isn’t the only thing the commission has to take care of.

“I would rather put that money into education and in our school system, but the point of it is we have many services required to provide within our government,” Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris said. “The school is one of them. The jail is another.”

Mayor Harris also said they want the public to be involved in the decision because they want to look at every possible solution and choose the best one for the safety of the community.

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