Q Our county has a regional jail, and we would like to transfer it to a private company by assigning the Amended Inmate Housing Agreement with the Mississippi Department of Corrections to a private company and leasing the building, fixtures, etc.. Do we have the authority to do so, or is there another way to transfer the facility to a private company?

A Based on the language in Sections 47-5-935 and 47-5-937, in a previous Opinion we found no authority for the sheriff or board of supervisors to contract with a third party to serve as the chief corrections officer in a county where a regional facility is located. As those duties cannot be delegated to a third party, the proposed arrangement would not be permissible. We also note that Section 47-4-9 authorizes the board of supervisors, with approval of the sheriff, to contract with private entities for the management, operation and maintenance of a county jail. No such authorization is provide in statutes for county-owned or leased correctional facilities. (Attorney Generalís Opinion to Jones, February 22, 2019)