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Acadiana sheriffs announce COVID-19 plans for area jails

Posted at 9:48 AM, Mar 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-13 22:02:57-04

Acadiana Sheriffs are announcing plans in accordance with the guidelines put forth by the Department of Corrections regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Below is a list that will be updated as necessary:

  • The Iberia Parish Jail has stopped all visitation and public services in accordance with the guidelines given by the Department of Corrections regarding the COVID 19 pandemic. Sheriff Ackal has implemented measures to monitor all incoming prisoners and will take all measures possible to help prevent the jail population from being exposed to COVID-19. Anyone needing to access the jail will have to follow the specific instructions of the correctional staff or be denied entry. Sheriff Ackal hopes the public will understand the precautions that have been taken.
  • Following the directive set forth from Secretary James M. Leblanc of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections, Sheriff Blaise Smith announced that the St. Mary Parish Law Enforcement Center (LEC) will be adhering to the plan that will be put into place starting Friday, March 13, 2020, in all state prisons.

To ensure they are protecting staff and our prison population at the jail, they are adopting the following measures:

1. Effective immediately, all visiting is suspended at the LEC. The Sheriff's Office will review the decision on visitation restriction every 30 days until the threat subsides.

2. They are working with phone and tablet providers to expand access to telephone services to ensure continued connection to family and friends during this time.

3. Effectively Friday, March 13, 2020, off-site non-emergent (non-life threatening) trips are discontinued.

None of these decisions have been made lightly or in haste, according to David Spencer, spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office.

  • In an effort to reduce the chance of COVID19 infecting the Vermilion Parish Correctional Center, effective at 6pm today and until further notice, public inmate visitation and programs have been suspended. At present, only attorneys and law enforcement personnel are allowed to have NON CONTACT visits with inmates. In the near future, these restrictions may be expanded to include any and all public access to the jail if warranted. We have instituted specific procedures to screen for COVID19 on all inmates upon entry to the parish jail with secondary protocols designed to help mitigate the possible introduction and spread of this virus to the inmate population. We anticipate that these restrictions and procedures will last for at least 30 days.