February 2, 2007

Harrison County Jail Docket Offline for Now

By Robin Fitzgerald, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.

Feb. 2--HARRISON COUNTY -- The computer-savvy curious will have to wait to see current detainee listings on the Harrison County jail's online docket.

Technical problems have cropped up in the changeover to a new records management system and it's taking longer than expected to work out the glitches. But that doesn't mean the public has no access to the information, said Sheriff George H. Payne Jr.

"You can still call the jail, which is what people without a computer do anyway. Or you can come out to the jail and use the computer that bail bondsmen use," Payne said.

The docket lists the names of everyone booked into the jail. It tells their charges, the arresting agency and their bond amount, if set. It has basic information family and friends of detainees want to know, and information that bailbond agents use to arrange for bail.

The online docket has become a matter of public convenience, but it's not something people in many areas of the nation are accustomed to having. The Harrison County jail became the first in the state to put its docket online in April 2003.

Jails for years have used a large, hardcover book for handwritten records. Some have switched over to computers, but most dockets aren't available online.

Harrison County's docket is still available online for incarcerations from 1998 through Nov. 7, 2006. Information after that date is available on staff computers and on the public computer in the jail lobby.

Sheriff's Capt. Walter Pitts, who oversees communications, said he doesn't know how much longer it will take to fix the glitches.

The records management system is part of the federally-funded Automated System Project developed by the University of Southern Mississippi to provide a centralized information-sharing system.

The sheriff's Web site includes a live Web cam of the jail booking room. In March 2006, the jail became the second in the nation to offer a Web Cam on the Internet. Payne provided the Web cam as a public service a month after an inmate's fatal beating in the jail booking room.


If you want to know

Until its new computer system is glitch-free, the Harrison County jail's online docket has information only on detainees from 1998 through Nov. 7, 2006. How to find out about detainees:

Online: www.harrisoncountysheriff.com

Call: (228) 896-3000

Visit: Jail at 10451 Larkin Smith Drive in Gulfport off Seaway Road


Copyright (c) 2007, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.

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