In citing a need for a new jail in Lafayette, Sheriff Mark Garber and the Guillory administration have called the current facility old, inefficient, and over capacity. As plans for a new jail move forward, KATC is getting a firsthand look at the issues inside the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center.
“It’s almost 40 years old,” said Captain Jared Yashar, who’s in charge of operations at LPCC. “We’re seeing rust, it’s becoming an issue, plumbing is becoming an issue as well.”
One of the big projects underway at LPCC is a plumbing project in the kitchen.
“Two of the major pipes under the kitchen busted and they’re being replaced at this time,” said Capt. Yashar.
The LPCC kitchen is a construction zone, and unable to operate at full capacity, which is having an impact on inmates.
“Because we’ve had to move the operations of the cooking to our Willow Street site,” said Capt. Yashar. “So we can only provide one hot meal a day in addition to two cold meals, as opposed to two hot meals and one cold meal per day.”
The current jail was built in 1984, and was initially designed to house 300 inmates. The current maximum capacity is 674 inmates. Tuesday morning, LPCC reported 657 inmates in custody.
“We are constantly at capacity almost every day,” said Capt. Yashar.
Capt. Yashar hopes a new, larger facility will also address safety concerns. KATC toured an area of the jail that houses high-risk, violent offenders. Capt. Yashar says design flaws can put deputies in danger when inmates are brought to a shower facility
“Once they get to this [shower] area here, they are uncuffed and can attack deputies, which we’ve had happen several times,” he said.
Capt. Yashar also hopes a new facility will help reduce recidivism.
“We do see a lot of repeat offenders,” he said. “Space-wise, having room for classrooms will go a long way as we continue, and to have better programs and re-entry training programs, recidivism will start to decrease.”
Last week, the Lafayette Parish Council approved a resolution giving the Guillory Administration the authority to enter into public-private partnerships. In a video news release, Guillory said he would use such an arrangement to fund a new jail on Lafayette’s north side. The project is in the initial stages, and LCG is expected to take two months to evaluate and select a private partner.