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Lafayette Parish Council Moves Forward with Plans for New Jail

This week, the Lafayette Parish Council announced plans to use $400,000 to purchase land on Willow Street to build a new jail.
Posted at 7:00 PM, May 26, 2023

A new parish jail is in the works, according to the Lafayette Parish Council and Mayor-President Josh Guillory.

While not all council members are in favor of a new parish jail, Tuesday's vote determined $400,000 will be taken from the Parish General Fund to purchase land for the proposed facility.

Some residents in the area like Ione Cagle, a student at Lafayette High School said Willow Street is already posing too many problems for students and staff at J. Wallace James Elementary School, a half-mile up the road.

"I think it's a very big problem because you don't know what the inmates are in there for so it could be child abuse or molestation and with an outside playground, it could cause a real issue for an inmate that gets out."

Cagle said her mother is a kindergarten teacher at J. Wallace James Elementary and the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office and Transitional Housing Facility are already too close.

"She [Cagle's mother] said that she had some issues with the place that's already set up that's caused some problems, some lockdowns and some shelters in place and she doesn't want more with a prison being built," Cagle said.

I reached out to Mayor-President Josh Guillory for comment. He was unavailable. However, a spokesperson directed me to a statement Guillory made last year.

"The new facility will have additional capacity and will be located outside of downtown," Guillory said. "Many said this could never be done without raising raising taxes, however, I'm proposing a different approach. Our plan utilizes a public-private partnership model and does not call for the privitization of the jail, this will not be a private prison."

Lafayette Parish Council is expected to consider the ordinance for final approval in June.