Allen Parish detention center about 65 percent done

OBERLIN — Construction on a new $5 million detention center just west of Oberlin is moving forward.

Allen Parish Sheriff Doug Hebert III said Tuesday the project is about 65 percent complete, with completion expected by early 2019.

Construction crews are currently working to install sprinkle and security systems, dry wall and run electrical wiring for computers and other equipment.

Construction on the 22,000-square-foot facility began in March after the State Bond Commission approved $5.7 million in revenue bonds for the project. The bonds will be paid off over seven years with funds generated by the facility.

Once completed the facility will house 200 male and female federal detainees including illegal immigrants waiting on court dates, many for DWI and drug-related charges.

“We are a long-term facility, but some may stay here only a short time while waiting on a court date,” Hebert said.

The average stay will be a few weeks to four months, he said.

No violate offenders will be housed in the facility.

Before the facility is opened, the Sheriff’s Office will need to hire and train about 16 new employees.

“Our employees will have to be trained and learn to work thru the system,” he said. “Some policies may also have to be adjusted to fit the building.”

Hebert said he is considering a “soft opening” with about 50-60 detainees at first to allow employees to get familiar with the facility.

Hebert hopes the facility will create additional jobs and provide a revenue stream for the Sheriff’s Office.

“We want to be able to use some of that revenue to add more patrolmen, detectives and narcotics and improve services,” he said. “Just opening a jail will create new jobs, but we want to be able to improve services which before we could only do with limited tax dollars.”

“When you look at where we were in 2012 when I raised my hand and took the oath of office to where we are now, we have made strives. We are definitely better than we were and that is a credit to the people I have been able to hire since I took office, whether on the criminal or corrections side, or finances.”

Hebert said when he first took office the Sheriff’s Office was $800,000 upside down and he he had to cut employees and benefits.

“Now we have a viable budget and we have been able to build a jail without any significant risk,” he said.

Under a contract with immigration to house the detainees, the Sheriff’s Office could received $600,000 to $1 million annually.

Housing the detainees in a separate facility will also free up space for parish inmates currently housed in the nearby public safety complex.

Plans for the new facility also include an intake area and nurses station with medical care offices.””

Construction on a new $5 million Allen Parish Detention Center adjacent to the parish’s Public Safety Complex located on La. 26 just west of Oberlin is moving forward. The project is 65 percent complete with completion expected by early 2019.

Doris MaricleJefferson Davis Parish Reporter
https://www.americanpress.com/content/tncms/avatars/2/0b/363/20b363ec-3a6d-11e7-be79-bf9dc8973cf5.4ddcfc90d57047524e082314ecc99992.png
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Construction on a new $5 million Allen Parish Detention Center adjacent to the parish’s Public Safety Complex located on La. 26 just west of Oberlin is moving forward. The project is 65 percent complete with completion expected by early 2019.

Doris MaricleJefferson Davis Parish Reporter
https://www.americanpress.com/content/tncms/avatars/2/0b/363/20b363ec-3a6d-11e7-be79-bf9dc8973cf5.4ddcfc90d57047524e082314ecc99992.png