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Four Escape Troubled Mississippi Jail After Fifth Circuit Postpones Federal Receivership

by Keith Sanders

Two of four detainees have been recaptured after escaping from jail in Mississippi’s Hinds County on April 29, 2023. The other two are dead. Meanwhile control of the Raymond Detention Center (RDC) remains in limbo after the U.S. Court of Appeals to the Fifth Circuit granted a last-minute injunction in December 2022 halting a federal takeover of the troubled lockup.

The four escapees got out through the jail’s roof, Sheriff Tyree Jones said. Dylan Arrington, 22, was then killed in a shootout with Leake County deputies, who found him inside a flaming Carthage home as it burned to the ground. He had been held at RDC on carjacking and weapons charges. After escape, on April 24, 2023, he is suspected of another carjacking during which Rev. Anthony Watts, 61, was fatally shot.

The corpse of a second escapee, Casey Grayson, 34, was found inside a pickup by a security guard at a New Orleans truck stop on April 30, 2023. Sheriff Jones indicated the death was a likely drug overdose. Grayson had been held at RDC since February 2022 on theft and drug charges.

A third escapee, Jerry Raynes, 51, was located on April 27, 2028, at a hospital in Houston where he was receiving unspecified treatment. He waived his right to fight extradition, but he will not be held at RDC when he returns to Hinds County, Sheriff Jones said.

U.S. Marshals arrested the last escapee, Corey Harrison, 22, along with a female acquaintance allegedly hiding him at a home in Crystal Springs on May 4, 2023. Harrison had been detained at RDC since early April on suspicion of fencing stolen goods.

After a series of riots and deaths, RDC had operated under a consent decree with the federal government since 2016. But with control of the jail still largely ceded to gangs, the federal court for the Southern District of Mississippi enjoined the County from continuing its operation and placed RDC under federal receivership in July 2022. [See: PLN, Sep. 2022, p.18.]

However, on December 28, 2022, the Fifth Circuit granted the County a stay to that injunction, putting off receivership until conclusion of the appeals process. But the Court granted in part the federal government’s motion to remand the case on a limited basis. Specifically, the Court decided to allow the lower court to “rule on the motions to clarify and for reconsideration, conduct additional proceedings concerning Section K” of the consent decree, a previously terminated part of the agreement mandating that juveniles charged as adults must be held in the county’s Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center and not RDC. See: United States v. Hinds Cty. Bd. of Supervisors, USCA (5th Cir.), Case No. 22-60332 (2022).

On January 30, 2023, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves then granted the federal government’s motion for reconsideration, reinstating Section K’s provisions, and also clarifying that his other orders had been subjected to a “need-narrowness-intrusiveness” analysis that comports with the requirements of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e. See: United States v. Hinds Cty. Bd. of Supervisors, USDC (S.D. Miss.), Case No. 3:16-cv-00489.

Sheriff Jones and the County Board of Supervisors immediately appealed those rulings to the Fifth Circuit, and PLN will update developments as they are available.

Additional sources: ABC News, Mississippi Today, WAPT