St. Landry Parish still picking up tab on former Opelousas City Jail inmates

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Over a month ago, inmates from the Opelousas City Jail were transferred to the St. Landry Parish jail after the city jail was shut down.

The parish has been taking on the costs of housing the inmates since.

“In the beginning, the city was in a panic and had somewhat anxiety,” says St. Landry Parish President Bill Fontenot.

Fontenot says the parish agreed to take on the funding that comes with housing the additional inmates.

“$256 dollars a day when we have to move them out of our jail, the parish jail, to another location that will accept them,” says Fontenot.

Fontenot says it costs $30 dollars a day to keep an inmate in the parish jail.

With five inmates being transferred, that’s $150 dollars a day the city doesn’t have to pay.

The mayor and police chief say they haven’t been contacted about chipping in.

“They haven’t said there is any concerns, they haven’t approached us saying that they’re strapped for cash or whatever,” says Mayor Reggie Tatum.

With the city jail still closed, they say there is no plan to re-open it but rather more likely a chance to start a whole new jail in the future.

“It’s probably cheaper than just keep fixing, fixing, fixing and have to keep on because it’s going to build up eventually,” says Tatum.

It is no secret that the city of Opelousas is struggling financially right now, that is why the parish is looking to pick them up when they are down.

“We don’t have city versus parish here, we work together. Incarcerations impact all of our community, all of our society,” says Fontenot.

The limit on the parish jail is 232 inmates and both sides say that has not been exceeded since the inmates were originally moved in May.

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