The senator was impressed with the new jail's careful programming and well thought-out design.
August 22, 2019
U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy made a stop in Thibodaux today to tour the newly opened Lafourche Parish jail and said he was impressed.
Following a tour conducted by Sheriff Craig Webre and other jail administrators, Cassidy. R-La., complimented local officials about the facility and the way it treats inmates.
“It’s impressive not just because of the facility but also for the programming and the thought that goes into it,” the senator said. “It’s designed so that if someone commits a crime it would be their last crime, and they don’t keep coming back. That saves money for society and hopefully helps the person get on the right path.”
Construction of the 118,095-square-foot Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex at La. 3185 and Veterans Boulevard began in 2016 after parish residents in 2014 approved a 0.2 percent sales tax for the project.
Instead of locking up inmates in cells for a period of time, the new jail emphasizes rehabilitation, education and mental health, officials said. The jail also educates inmates about parenting, job interviews and earning high school or higher education credits.
“Since you’ve got a lot of folks being brought in as mentally ill and potentially addicted, you also want to be able to screen them out and get them the appropriate therapy as opposed to bouncing them in and out of jail,” Cassidy said. “If you can treat the addiction and mental illness, you can keep them from coming back. It’s better for the individual, their family and society.”
Inmates who require higher levels of security are held in standard two-person cells in a special housing unit, jail officials said.
Webre said he was honored to give the senator a personal tour of the facility that represents “a new generation of corrections.”
“It’s refreshing and encouraging because he is a member of the most elite group of 100 people in the world,” the sheriff said. “For him to take that keen of an interest in what’s going on in his home state, particularly in the area of incarceration and corrections, has made my staff enthusiastic.”
Being a correctional officer remains the most challenging job at the Sheriff’s Office, Webre said.
“I know just recently with Jerry Epstein, who took his own life, it created a laser-like focus on corrections,” Webre said. “People are starting to realize the jails and prisons are having difficulty finding and keeping qualified staff. We’re blessed to have a qualified staff of people here. But it’s still a challenge because it’s a challenging environment.”