Jury: Jail rate rise not feasible

Published 1:13 am Monday, October 31, 2016


VIDALIA — Concordia Parish police jurors say more than doubling the cost of pre-trial prisoner care is not feasible.

In July, the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office sent a letter to the police jury stating jurors would be charged an additional $13 per day when pre-trial prisoners transfer from the courthouse jail to the Louisiana 15 prison. Ferriday and Vidalia aldermen received similar letters at the time.

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Sheriff Kenneth Hedrick said at the courthouse, prisoner care would not change for jurors. However, due to increasing costs of food and labor, Hedrick said the small amount of current reimbursement is no longer economically feasible for the sheriff’s office.

Police Jury Secretary-Treasurer Kevin Friloux said the parish could not afford more than $18 per day per person with the number of pre-trial prisoners being sent to the Louisiana 15 facility.

Since July, the prisoner care bills have increased from a budgeted approximately $12,500 per month to approximately the $30,000 to $40,000 range, Friloux said.

With approximately $150,000 per year budgeted for prisoner care, Friloux said even at $30,000 per month, the yearly prisoner care budget would have to more than double to $360,000.

“I don’t know what is going to happen,” Friloux said. “But without a doubt, the police jury cannot afford to pay those kind of rates.”

Jury finance committee chair Whest Shirley said he would like to have a meeting with the sheriff to get on the same page about prisoner care costs.

“We need some clarification on what we owe and what we are required to pay for prisoner care,” he said.

The jury voted this past week to send a letter to the sheriff to request bills be resubmitted at the original $5.50 per day rate, and they would be paid. Friloux said the jury paid the July bill at the increased rate, but has not paid one since.

Hedrick said Thursday Jurors would have to pay.

“When it goes to a private facility, it is going to cost more,” he said. “They are going to have to pay.”

Hedrick said he would hold additional comment until after he had spoken to the jurors.

Friloux said one way the sheriff’s office could save on costs would be to utilize its ankle bracelets for non-violent offenders and keep them out of the jail system.

Vidalia and Ferriday police departments had been paying $5 per day, and the overnight charge for them now is is $18.39 per day.

The courthouse jail has 48 beds, and it is the first option for pre-trial prisoners.