Shreveport Leaders Say Jail Crowding Is Now Critical Problem
Jail overcrowding in Caddo Parish is now an emergency and the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee is desperately looking for ways to ease the problem.
Sheriff Steve Prator called the panel together to address the rising numbers at Caddo Correctional Center. He says the jail currently has 1,506. The lockup was built to house 1,070 prisoners. The emergency number was bumped up to 1500 during Katrina when inmates were moved to Caddo from south Louisiana.
And the sheriff says these rising numbers are coming as arrests are down dramatically over the past 3 years.
The Sheriff has asked local judges, prosecutors and other elected officials to take immediate action to address this problem which he says is now very critical.
The Sheriff is urging the judicial system to do whatever they can to move these cases through the court system as quickly as possible. Prator says more than 1,000 of these inmates are locked up awaiting trial and that is causing a massive backlog in the jail.
The sheriff says the group did come up with some ways to get more private attorneys involved to handle more cases because of the shortage of the people on the public defenders side. The sheriff also said the group will also work to hire more attorneys to staff the public defenders office.
What Does It Cost to House the Extra Inmates?
Prator tells KEEL News it costs $70 dollars a day to house each of these inmates. That totals $105,000 dollars every day to house 1,500 inmates. That totals more than $38 million dollars in a year. But if the jail held 1,070 inmates, as designed, the parish would be spending $74,000 a day to keep them locked up. That annual total is about $27 million. This extra cost is more than $11 million dollars which has to be funded by Caddo Parish.
The sheriff says many of these inmates should be adjudicated and sent on to the state prison where they are then the responsibility of the state and not the parish.