Concordia Parish jail pays off debt

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, January 16, 2007

After almost 10 years, the Concordia Parish Correctional Facility is finally debt-free.

To celebrate, the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office will have a note burning ceremony at 1 p.m. today at the facility.

The ceremony will take place at the Concordia Parish Community Center at 26358 Louisiana 15, Ferriday, next to the correctional facility.

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According to a CPSO press statement issued last Tuesday, the facility opened in March 1997 at a cost of $4.7 million, of which the state of Louisiana provided $1 million, and area banks provided loans for the rest.

“I think the biggest thing here is that there was absolutely no cost to the taxpayers of the parish,” Sheriff Randy Maxwell said Friday.

Maxwell gave the credit on the financing of the facility to former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards, whose administration funded the $1 million grant, and former Concordia Bank CEO and president Travis Gore of Vidalia.

“Without Travis Gore’s and Gov. Edwards’ vision and confidence in this project and administration, it wouldn’t have happened,” Maxwell said.

Gore said Maxwell was the key to the facility’s success.

“He (Maxwell) doesn’t want to take credit for it, but if it wasn’t for his management of the facility and the fact that we (Concordia Bank) knew he was going to manage it, we probably wouldn’t have financed him,” Gore said.

Maxwell said the facility is a tremendous impact on the criminal justice system in the parish.

The jail at the current CPSO building, Maxwell said, is only allowed to house a maximum of 40 inmates because of a federal mandate.

“Judges couldn’t sentence properly and didn’t have any place to put them (criminals),” Maxwell said.

He said before the facility was built, it was an everyday occurrence for him to make the decision of who was the least dangerous inmate he was going to have to let go because of the mandate.

“It was extremely frustrating to the law enforcement officers who were working their hearts out trying to do a good job then the bad guy would beat them out the door because there was no room (in the parish jail),” he said.

Maxwell said the correctional facility holds 490 inmates and employs 100 people.