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Nonviolent offenders in Acadia Parish given house arrest option

Posted at 11:16 PM, Jan 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-29 16:04:43-05

CROWLEY — The Acadia Parish Police Jury is looking at ways to cut costs when it comes to housing inmates at other jails.

One of the options is being made available to nonviolent offenders.

According to Sheriff K.P. Gibson, right now, the parish jail is slightly over capacity.

"People aren't able to bond, whether they can't [or] family members aren't helping them. It just gets to a point where they're not bonding and we're getting that crowded, we have to ship to avoid getting any problems from there," explained Sheriff Gibson.

There are about 180 inmates currently at the jail. Since early 2019, about 200 inmates were transferred to other jails. Housing an inmate elsewhere costs the parish about $25 per day, per inmate.

"When the new budget for 2020 came out, the projected numbers on housing inmates elsewhere was around $800,000," said Police Jury Vice President Steve Comeaux.

According to Comeaux, one way they're trying to save money is by putting some offenders on house arrest.

The required ankle bracelet would cost the inmate $11 a day; the plan is for the offender to pay the fee.

The police jury is taking into consideration that some inmates may not be able to afford the cost.

"If we have to pay the $11, it's still less than half of what we're paying now," said Comeaux.

Police jurors are working with the sheriff's office to determine what offenders qualify for the program. There is one inmate already utilizing the bracelet.

"A lot of times, our judges have been working with us, trying to look at people that are in there for bench warrants and the time they would have served clearing them out prior to that," said Gibson.

The sheriff believes the parish may save about $300,000 with the bracelets.

"I would rather let us save the money first before we try to redirect it," said Comeaux. "Let's make sure this program works and we don't have any problems."