LaSalle breaks ground on new juvenile detention facility

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 22, 2001

OLLA, La. – Ground was broken Thursday afternoon in the LaSalle Parish town of Olla for the Central Louisiana Juvenile Detention Facility.

The 50-bed facility, which will house those under 17 who have been arrested but have not yet had their date in court, will serve Concordia, Catahoula, Avoyelles, Grant, LaSalle, Vernon and Winn parishes.

&uot;It will certainly be helpful,&uot; said Concordia Parish Sheriff Randy Maxwell. &uot;Right now, we’ve got to send (pre-trial juveniles) all the way to St. James Parish to be housed. … And that’s more expensive — up to $80 a day per juvenile.&uot;

That figure may actually be closer $100 at some facilities, officials involved with the project have said. In contrast, the facility on Louisiana 125 in Olla is considering charging member parishes $60 a day and non-members $100 a day to house juveniles.

&uot;The problem now is that we don’t have anywhere near here to house them, and where we can send them, it’s more expensive than it would be doing it ourselves,&uot; said Vidalia City Court Judge George Murray

&uot;With children who are violent offenders, you don’t want to just put them on house arrest and tell the police to keep an eye on them. This is a place you can confine them pending hearings,&uot; said Murray, a member of the Central Louisiana Juvenile Detention Center Authority.

In the legislative session that ended Monday, the authority received $150,000 from the state to help construct the facility. That will be matched with $150,000 from a $7.50 fee added to each ticket, such as speeding tickets, issued by law enforcement officers in the seven parishes.

Since the authority is asking for an additional $3.2 million from the state to complete the facility, no opening date has yet been set.