Construction has begun on the new Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex. The state-of-the-art correctional complex will house 600 inmates and includes work release, a medical unit and spaces for inmate programs.
The Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex (LPCC) is a 120,000 s.f. 600 bed development that facilitates the following: intake processing, work release, video visitation, medical unit, kitchen, and classroom space for rehabilitation. The project is anticipated to receive LEED certification through its sustainable design, energy efficiency, and extracurricular farming and compost programs.
The vision and mission of the LPCC is to provide and ensure a safe, secure, efficient and constitutional, new-generation facility. This facility shall serve and protect the community, the staff and the inmates while seeking to return a productive citizen to our community through the use of technology, innovative and comprehensive rehabilitative and re-entry initiatives. This project is a Joint Venture.
December 29, 2016
By Bridget Mire Staff Writer
Design and cost negotiations have pushed back completion of the new Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex to August 2018.
"I guess because we were so thoughtful, it delayed the process," Sheriff Craig Webre said. "We could probably have the jail 25 percent complete if we had simply gone to someone and said, 'Give us a canned, off-the-shelf jail that you built somewhere else and just tell us how much it costs,' and not made any decisions. We would have ended up with someone else's jail, and it would not have been specific to the mission statement of what we're trying to accomplish."
Crews began driving pilings for the foundation on Nov. 18 and finished Friday, almost a week ahead of schedule. The complex will be located across from the current jail at the corner of La. 3185 and Veterans Boulevard in Thibodaux. Utility work and pouring the slab come next.
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office purchased 42 acres last year for $962,775, and a groundbreaking ceremony took place June 18. The jail will not stretch over the whole property, but the land couldn't be subdivided for sale.
Although the Sheriff's Office initially predicted the complex could be finished by next year, it's now expected to be complete by August 2018. Webre said decision-making caused some delays.
For example, those involved with the project figured out how to design a housing unit for maximum-security inmates and those with special needs so that it would only require one staff member at a time. They also decided to position the medical unit next to the intake unit so a nurse could easily get there.
The Sheriff's Office is working with Baton Rouge-based GraceHebert Architects and Thibodaux-based Duplantis Design Group for the project. Yates Construction is the construction manager at risk.
For certain elements of the new jail, the Sheriff's Office chose both options presented, such as offering visitation by video and face-to-face. Inmates considered a security threat will have trays of food delivered to their cells, while others will eat in a cafeteria.
Instead of the current block design, the new jail will use direct supervision, with guards and inmates sharing the same space on a more open floor plan. Webre said being in close proximity with inmates will help guards identify potential problems, reduce tension and improve communication.
"The whole focus is different, and it's going to require a different philosophy from the employees," he said. "The mindset of operating (the current) jail is simply to make sure the doors lock. We just keep people from getting out of their cells because you're on one side of the bars and they're on the other side. When you get into direct supervision, you have to be resourceful and creative, you have to be observant, you have to be interactive with the population because you're in the population."
The Sheriff's Office initially said the complex would cost about $30 million, but Maj. Marty Dufrene, special projects coordinator, said it will be about $42 million. A 0.2 percent sales tax passed May 3, 2014, will pay for the jail.
Webre has long decried the current jail, built in 1976, as outdated and overcrowded. Its capacity is 245, but housing inmates outside the parish helps keep that number lower.
The new complex will include about 500 beds with the potential for expansion to about 600 beds. Webre said he expects to have 30 or 40 more employees at maximum capacity.
Dufrene is overseeing the completion of the new jail. He said if the Sheriff's Office didn't do enough research and fully prepare, the jail might not function correctly.
"Although we want to get it done quickly, we want to make sure it's done properly," he said. "This is what we're going to have to live with once it's built. ... Probably in February, we're going to start with our transition team. This team's going to be dedicated to looking at policies and trying to make the old policies transition into the new facility. They're going to be looking at scheduling. They're going to be looking at the workforce."
Webre and Dufrene said the new oomplex will be geared toward preparing inmates to re-enter society. "Too often, jails warehouse inmates, and we're not looking at doing that anymore. That's what we're presently doing, basically," Dufrene said. "We want to give them the opportunity to make themselves better so when they get out, they don't re-offend."