According to an examination of data from the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, Lawrence County had the highest two-year per capita average of fines and forfeitures in the state at $55.57.

Those numbers have a large caveat, skewed by $1.28 million in fines and forfeitures in 2016 after the sheriff’s department there earned $103,057 in fines and forfeitures in 2017.

In 2015, the county had fine and forfeiture revenues of $98,961 and $116,664 in 2014.

Tiny Issaquena County (population 1,308) was second, with a running two-year average over 2016 and 2015 of $36.10 in revenue from fines and forfeitures. The county received $45,468 in 2015 from fines and forfeitures and $48,971 in 2016. 

In 2016, fines and forfeitures represented 1.06 percent of Issaquena County’s revenues ($4,583,342) and 1.02 percent of revenues ($4,423,202) in 2015.

The county with the largest population in the top five, Simpson, averaged $26.23 per each one of its 26,758 residents for fines and forfeitures for third place. In 2017, fines and forfeitures ($642,093) accounted for 7.84 percent of the county’s revenues. In 2016, fines and forfeitures ($697,283) represented 5.36 percent of the county’s $ 13,006,437 in revenues.

According to a 2018 audit by state Auditor Shad White’s office, the Simpson County Sheriff’s Office didn’t maintain documentation for purchase of information and evidence (PIPE) funds and didn’t deposit funds within one business day into the county’s bank accounts. The county said in its response to the report that it had corrected both deficiencies. 

Fourth was Jefferson County, with a two-year average of $182,409 in fine and forfeiture revenues or $25.67 per resident. Fifth was Franklin County, with a two year average of $182,409 and a per capita figure of $25.38. 

The auditor’s office conducts audits, either directly or via an accounting firms, of the state’s 82 counties periodically. Listed under each county’s revenues was a category for fines and forfeitures, which can include traffic and other fines and forfeitures. Most of the data was from the fiscal years 2017 and 2016. 

The auditor’s office had data from those years for most counties, but 23 did not and data from 2016 and 2015 was substituted.

The average statewide for the state’s counties was $21.16 in fines and forfeiture revenue per resident and counties averaged $428,743 per year in revenue.

Sixteen Mississippi cities earned at least $1 million in fines and forfeitures and the average for residents in cities and towns was $32.54.

Sheriffs are prohibited by law in Mississippi from using radar for traffic enforcement, so it can be surmised that most of the fines and forfeitures listed in the county audits by the Office of the State Auditor are likely seizures. 

CountyPopulation2017 fines and forfeitures Per capita2016 fines and forfeitures Per capitaTwo-year forfeiture averagePer capita average
Lawrence12,455 $               103,057  $               8.27  $            1,281,190  $  102.87  $            692,124  $             55.57 
Issaquena*1,308 $                 45,468  $            34.76  $                 48,971  $    37.44  $              47,220  $             36.10 
Simpson26,758 $               706,546  $            26.41  $               697,283  $    26.06  $            701,915  $             26.23 
Jefferson7,106 $               254,787  $            35.86  $               110,030  $    15.48  $            182,409  $             25.67 
Franklin7,788 $               190,843  $            24.50  $               204,434  $    26.25  $            197,639  $             25.38 
Jones68,461 $           1,189,335  $            17.37  $            2,085,672  $    30.47  $        1,637,504  $             23.92 
Montgomery10,023 $               241,087  $            24.05  $               233,427  $    23.29  $            237,257  $             23.67 
Amite12,326 $               290,246  $            23.55  $               248,354  $    20.15  $            269,300  $             21.85 
Tunica9,944 $               193,928  $            19.50  $               238,460  $    23.98  $            216,194  $             21.74 
Lamar62,447 $           1,249,443  $            20.01  $            1,452,579  $    23.26  $        1,351,011  $             21.63 

*Data from 2016 and 2015