Jeff Davis jail overcrowding problem could see solution - KLFY News 10

Solving Jeff Davis Jail Overcrowding

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For nearly 50 years, the jail in Jeff Davis Parish has sat on the third floor of the courthouse. But the 65-bed facility can no longer keep up with a growing population. Those beds fill up quickly and Sheriff Ivy Woods says it's becoming a problem.

"Right now, we have to cite and release felony (non-violent) offenders," said Woods. "In the last year, we've cited and released over 200. We have about 1,000 warrants that need to be issued and can't be issued."

Sheriff Woods and other concerned citizens say the next logical step, for both safety and justice, is to move into a newer and larger facility. Maintenance and repairs are already troubling the department, so starting from scratch would bring their outdated system into the 21st century.

There's also technological improvements, majority of which cannot be made at the current site. It's upgrades the sheriff says would help them use taxpayer dollars more efficiently.

"We're looking into video visitation, video court arraignments, and also administering medical needs through video," said Woods.

The state has already granted the parish $10 million to build a new jail. The only problem now is securing the funds for future operational costs of a 200-bed facility, which is around $2.3 million annually. Voters will decide if this is a project worth supporting with a half-cent sales tax.

"It's for the future of the parish," said Woods. "I mean, we need this. We need to incarcerate offenders."

Jeff Davis Parish voters will decide on the half-cent sales tax proposal in the May 3rd election.

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