Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office says more violent criminals are making the jail overcrowded

LAFAYETTE, La (KLFY)– The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office said there are more violent criminals being housed in the parish jail now than ever before, and because of it, they’re dealing with severe overcrowding.

The Lafayette Parish Correctional Center has an issue with overcrowding, but it’s not because they don’t have enough beds, it’s because supervision and safety is key.

“Whenever an individual is booked into the jail, they go through a classification process that allows us to determine what level of supervision is needed in order for them to be safe, for other offenders, to be safe, and for our staff to be safe,” Cpt. John Mowell with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office said.

Mowell said the issue with overcrowding is because the classification of inmates determines the space available in its correctional facility.

“As part of that classification process, you find out that individuals may require a higher level of segregation,” Mowell said. “This ends up eating up the number of beds in your jail. You might have two beds in a room where you can only house one individual.”

With a maximum capacity of the 649 people, LPCC has a current population of 551 inmates to date. Mowell said the reason beds aren’t filled is because there may be an inmate who is a danger to not only themselves, but also other inmates and staff.

“There are reasons that you’re required to make sure that they’re more isolated,” Mowell said. “And that’s what the classification processes.”

Mowell said not only is the parish jail experiencing issues with overcrowding, but so is the Department of Corrections. He said due the DOC is experiencing the same issues, there are d-o-c inmates being housed at the parish jail taking up space. Mowell said there are discussions on possible solutions. One of them: the reopening of the sheriff’s office annex for additional space.

“As of this morning, the sheriff had gotten a briefing from Major Benoit and approved, based on our current staffing levels, to reopen the annex,” Mowell said.

Although a date is not set on when the annex will be reopened, LPCC hopes this can assist in trying to combat their overcrowding issue.

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