8:30 p.m update: Forrest County Sheriff Charlie Sims reportrd the plumbing issue at the jail has been resolved.
“Water and sanitation conditions are in the process of being fully restored at this time,” he said.
Family members of people held in Forrest County jail say inmates have been without water for more than a day.
“The inmates are not on lockdown, but it took them 24 hours to distribute two water bottles per inmate and they still have no running water to shower or for the toilets,” Ravyn Mittelstaedt told the Hattiesburg American in an email Friday.
Others with incarcerated loved ones reached out to the news organization with similar complaints but declined to speak with the paper on the record. The Hattiesburg American does not quote anonymous sources except in rare instances.
Sheriff Charlie Sims said the sheriff’s department has been working since Thursday afternoon to fix the issue, which appears to be a clog in one of the water lines, he said Friday.
“In the meantime, we’ve purchased bottled water and brought portalets in so the inmates can use the bathroom and have water,” Sims said.
The sheriff said some of the lines were backing up so a plumbing service was called in. He said they snaked the lines and had run into some blockage so had to bring in a bigger truck.
“We got an even bigger truck with cameras that they ran through the line, but we’re still in the process of trying to clear it out,” Sims said. “We still don’t know exactly what it is that caused the blockage or anything else, but we’re working hard on it.
“Those guys are working as hard as they can to get it cleared and get our water back on.”
Mittelstaedt said she was concerned after learning about the lack of water and called the jail Thursday to confirm the situation.
“Booking said they did not have water and they were trying to fix it,” she said. “I said but they haven’t had water since 11. Can you give them some water? They said we are working on it.”