Sheriff’s office to hire new staff for prison

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 9, 2000

FERRIDAY, La. – The Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office plans to hire and train 65 employees by the end of January to staff an expansion of its Concordia Parish Correctional Facility, Sheriff Randy Maxwell said.

The sheriff’s office has taken 100 applications, but Maxwell estimates that perhaps only 40 to 50 of those will qualify.

Criteria for the position include having a high school or General Equivalency Diploma and no criminal record.

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&uot;We’re starting background checks on (applicants)&160;now, and we’re having a corrections school here Jan. 8 to start training people, … but we’re still taking applications,&uot;&160;Maxwell said. Those 65 employees will include corrections officers and support workers but does not include administrators.

Applicants living in Concordia Parish will be given first priority.

The 500-bed expansion should be finished and ready to use by early February, given good weather, said Project Manager Dennis Boyette of B.A.S. Construction of Rayville, which is building the facility.

The expansion is expected to indirectly create about 150 jobs in the surrounding area. With the current prison, located on Louisiana 15 next to the expansion site, it is expected to have a $500,000-a-month economic impact.

The 46,000-square-foot expansion will include eight prisoner dorms with four control rooms overlooking them; a multi-purpose room; expanded kitchen and storage facilities; and four recreational yards.

The sheriff’s office plans to use the new facility to house prisoners not participating in drug rehabilitation programs.

The older prison, which was opened in spring 1997 and now houses 392 prisoners, will house prisoners in drug rehab programs. Both parts of the prison will be minimum-security.

B.A.S. has built similar facilities in Rayville, Richwood, Catahoula Parish and LaSalle Parish, La., and Fayette.

The existing facility is owned and operated by the sheriff’s office. B.A.S. is building the expansion at their own cost and will own the building and the land on which it sits, but the sheriff’s office will operate it.

The expansion, like the current facility, would house state prisoners, and the state pays the parish $23 a day per prisoner for their care. If the expansion runs efficiently enough to care for prisoners with less money, B.A.S. will get any money left over.