Lafourche ‘breakout’ shuts down jail

Lafourche Parish inmates are out of the coop.

Sure, it was an organized evacuation following Friday’s water main break. But the broken water main at the parish jail re-emphasizes the immediate problems facing the aging facility.

With no means to prepare meals, provide showers or to fight potential fires, Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre was left with no option but to move more than 200 inmates to surrounding facilities. Using house arrest and releasing non-violent offenders with only days left on their sentences helped decrease the number of offenders the parish had to move.

But with inmates spread from Orleans to St. Gabriel parishes and all stops in between, there’s no known date when the Lafourche Parish Jail will reopen. Every day the inmates are away, Lafourche is forced to pay outside prison systems to house its prisoners.

Webre told the Associated Press Friday that the facility has “reached the end of its usefulness.”

It’s not a new argument.

Last September, the parish heard from a company named – no pun – Sprung. The firm sells domed structures, similar to circus tents, which could serve as a more affordable jailing alternative until a more permanent solution can be found. Clearly, Lafourche’s jail problems far exceed a temporary fix.

No matter what solution the incoming council and Lafourche Parish administration opt to use, it is certain that the current jail’s sentence is nearing an end.