Construction Continues at Lafourche Parish Jail

Design by GraceHebert Architects & Duplantis Design Group, the state-of-the-art correctional complex houses 600 inmates and includes work release, a medical unit and spaces for inmate programs.

Lafourche jail expected to open next September

Houma Today

October 25, 2017

By Bridget Mire Staff Writer

Despite a rain delay, the new Lafourche Parish jail is still on track for completion next year.

The Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex will be located across from the current jail at La. 3185 and Veterans Boulevard in Thibodaux. It’s set to be completed Sept. 4, 2018.

Project manager Bill Lacher said the job had been expected to be completed by next August, but it got delayed 22 days because of rain this year. The new jail will be about 127,000 square feet and include five connected buildings. Initial occupancy will be just over 500, but it will have space for 600 inmates.

It will include four general housing units – one 34,000 square feet; one 17,000 square feet; and two 12,000 square feet each.

There will be a corridor for inmates being transported for court and other reasons. There will also be a pharmacy, medical exam rooms, classrooms, a library and an indoor basketball half-court.

“We’re providing more than just warehousing,” Lacher said. “It’s a means of lifting them up.”

The new jail will cost about $42 million. A 0.2 percent sales tax that passed May 3, 2014, is paying for it.

Last year, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office purchased 42 acres for $962,775. The jail will not stretch over the whole property, but the land couldn’t be subdivided for sale.

Baton Rouge-based GraceHebert Architects and Thibodaux-based Duplantis Design Group are working with the Sheriff’s Office on the project. Yates Construction is the construction manager at risk.

The parish government owns the current jail, which was built in 1976, and will have to decide what to do with it. Maj. Marty Dufrene, special projects coordinator for the Sheriff’s Office, is overseeing the completion of the new jail.

Dufrene said the new kitchen will offer more space for meal preparation, and a garden is also planned so the inmates can enjoy fresh produce.

“The (current) kitchen is small and antiquated,” Dufrene said. “It’s just impossible to be able to prepare food. We hope to grow a lot more food on-site for the kitchen.”

Depending on classification, inmates will be able to visit their loved ones face-to-face at a table or by phone with a barrier between them. Video visitation will also be an option for family members who can’t visit the jail.

Lower-risk inmates will live in dormitories under direct supervision, but the jail will still include cells for maximum-security inmates. Sheriff’s Lt. Brennan Matherne said the new jail makes it easier to house inmates by classification and needs.

“You can separate people to some degree (currently), but you don’t have a ton of space to do that,” he said.

The jail will utilize natural lighting in the booking area and infirmary. Sheriff’s Office attorney Mike Jimenez said the goal is to be the only jail in the state meeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’s gold standard.

-- Staff Writer Bridget Mire can be reached at 448-7639 or bridget.mire@dailycomet.com. Follow her on Twitter @bridget_mire.

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