Residents: Jail addition can help parish

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 26, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. — An expansion at the Concordia Parish Correctional Facility could be an economic boon for the area, said several parish residents interviewed Friday.

&uot;Ferriday needs the jobs,&uot; said Lane Pugh of Ferriday. &uot;I know that they’ve been successful with the other (facility), so if they hire enough people to manage the expansion it should be okay.&uot;

&uot;Anything that will bring economic development will be a plus for the area,&uot; said Tim Adams of Ferriday.

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Concordia Parish Sheriff Randy Maxwell announced the $6 million expansion last week. He said it will create 50 to 60 jobs and have an additional $250,000 a year economic impact.

Cynthia Kelly of Vidalia said that as long as the facility is well-guarded so prisoners will not escape, &uot;the expansion probably won’t bother me.&uot;

&uot;I’m for it,&uot; said Jennifer Hollins of Ferriday. &uot;As long as it’s a secure prison, it shouldn’t be any harm to the community.&uot;

The expansion will hold prisoners from throughout Louisiana — 380 of them, the same as the existing facility.

Not everyone agrees with the expansion. Michael Kelly of Ferriday likes the idea of creating more jobs in a parish plagued with double-digit unemployment — but he does not think building more prisons is the way to do it.

&uot;As far as jobs coming into the area are concerned, that’s good,&uot; Kelly said. &uot;But you should look at helping these young men do something with their life rather than building more jails.&uot;

Next, Maxwell must get a building permit from the Concordia Parish Police Jury. Maxwell has already applied for a permit, and the matter will probably be discussed at the jury’s Monday meeting, said jury Vice President Melvin Ferrington.

&uot;I can’t see any problem with him getting a permit,&uot;&160;Ferrington said.

At the same time, Ferrington said he could not comment on the development, since he and jury President Charlie Blaney found out about it earlier this week along with everyone else and haven’t had a chance to talk with Maxwell about it.