Posted: Feb 6, 2012 9:42 AM by AP
Updated: Feb 7, 2012 10:20 AM
HOUMA, La. (AP) - Law enforcement officials in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes are taking steps they hope will make room in the parish jails for an expected Carnival season influx.
The Courier reports that both jails are at about capacity: 680 inmates in Terrebonne and 245 in Lafourche.
Authorities are trying to move up court dates for some inmates in an effort to free space, and patrol officers are being asked to consider tickets and citations as alternatives to jailing offenders.
Both parishes draw crowds for the two weeks of parades that begin this coming weekend. Officials say major crimes are rare but they expect more arrests for alcohol-related offenses and minor crimes.
"It's the nature of the beast," said Terrebonne jail Warden Mitch Dupre. "We've done it for so many years, it's expected."
Lafourche Chief Deputy Bud Dill said the effort is rooted in safety at parades. "People have invested quite a bit of money when they ride in parades. We try to make it what they expect it to be, a fun day for both the riders and the public."
In Terrebonne, Dupre said the Sheriff's Office works with the district attorney's office and judges to advance court dates in misdemeanor cases.
And officers will use discretion for possible arrests.
"It's a case-by-case basis," Dupre said. "If a person is causing an incident on a parade route, they can just be removed and given a summons. If the person is belligerent, out of control, and if it warrants a felony, we will arrest them."
Dill said deputies in Lafourche do the same thing.
Dill also said Lafourche makes room by sending inmates out of parish.
6 months ago