Are you for armed guards at schools?|
Story Archives: Future of parish jail, prisoner care at hand
- 2013 - 285 articles
- 2012 - 856 articles
- 2011 - 635 articles
- 2010 - 1276 articles
- 2009 - 1591 articles
- 2008 - 1763 articles
|Future of parish jail, prisoner care at hand|
The Concordia Parish Police Jury will decide in the days ahead whether to repair or close the parish jail at the courthouse.
The facility, designed to hold 48 prisoners when the courthouse was built in the 1970s, needs major renovation work, Jury President Melvin Ferrington told jurors during their regular meeting Monday night.
Ferrington said he toured the facility on Monday after an "electric motor that opens the cell doors caught fire" and ruined the motor. He said Tuesday the Jury will talk with a consultant to get a handle on the cost of renovations, which he said could exceed $500,000.
"Most of the commodes need replacing, the lighting and electrical system and other things are worn out," he said.
"It's old and it's horrible," Sheriff Randy Maxwell said Tuesday of the old jail, adding that the cost of parish prisoner care and jail maintenance is the Police Jury's.
"The Jury's going to have to decide whether to fix or close it down," Maxwell said Tuesday, although he believes the less expensive move would be to close the facility and house the parish prisoners at the correctional facilities on Hwy. 15. He said the cost to house parish prisoners is about $23 per prisoner per day based on state rates, but said the Jury presently pays on $5 per day.
Both Ferrington and Maxwell said they have been working together along with the district attorney and parish judges to address several financial issues involving the housing and care of prisoners, but that the old jail is at the forefront for the moment.
Maxwell said he can no longer afford to charge the parish only $5 for the housing of parish prisoners.
"Prisoners are an expensive thing," he said. "I realize that budgets are tight."
Maxwell estimated that his office has absorbed hundreds of thousands of dollars in prisoner housing costs over the past few years that the Jury is fiscally responsible to pay.
"We've always worked together and we'll continue to," said Maxwell, "but it's gotten to the point that the Jury is going to have to pay the actual costs set by the state. Other parishes are doing it. The sheriff's office simply can not absorb it anymore."
Ferrington agreed that the Jury is required to pay the costs, but says the Jury can't afford it.
He said total costs for housing and providing medical and medicinal care for prisoners totaled $127,553.57 in 2007, rose to $160,651.07 in 2008 and has cost $84,507.68 midway through 2009.
Another major issue involving prisoner care is the cost of medicine, said Ferrington.
"We need to check on what our requirements are in paying the costs of medicine for prisoners," said Ferrington. "It looks as if we've got some drug addicts that once they get in jail they want the parish to pay drug bills we can't afford."
In other business, the Jury:
• Took under advisement a number of bids for used equipment the Police Jury is selling and took under advisement bids for leasing property on Black Lake.
• Reappointed Robert Lee III and Linda F. Woods to the Concordia Parish Recreation District No. 1 Board.
• Voted to pay court reporter Betty Toms $544.50 for work in connection with the Jury's lawsuit against The Blain Companies of Natchez over the Jury's multi-million dollar Phase 1 hardsurfacing program.
• Tabled payment of $1,134.39 to Bryant Hammett & Associates for the Myrtle Street and Cornerstone Church drainage study.
• Discussed drainage needs for Freeman and Moose Lodge roads.
• Approved occupational licenses for Johanna Powell, F&J Powell Dress for Less, 289 Doty Garden Circle, Ferriday, and Jim Graves, G&S Contract Services LLC, 7047 Hwy. 129, Monterey.
• Approved an occupational license and a beer and liquor license for Karl Von Davis, Karl's Lounge, 9766 Hwy. 84 West, Ferriday, pending building approval by the State Fire Marshal.
• Approved transfers of $1,455 from the Highway Maintenance Fund to the General Fund, $3,350 from the Drainage Maintenance Fund to the General Fund, $1,585 from the Solid Waste Fund to the General Fund and $5,025 from the Sales Tax Fund to the General Fund.
• Agreed to provide Deborah Burnham a copy of a letter to the National Guard requesting assistance for upgrades to the Deer Park Road. She told jurors two weeks ago that there are five low spots that need building up along the road and that residents are often unable to get to their homes when the water covers portions of the road.
• Went into executive session to discuss legal matters.
|Frank Morris Murder Series|