New Public Safety Complex In Lafayette – Why Was It Built And How Does It Benefit Taxpayers?
If you drive on Willow Street, you may notice a new public safety complex being built. It's a 29-acre, $24 million project that serves multiple functions. Director of Corrections Rob Reardon with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office was a guest on "Your Afternoon Drive Home" to talk about the new facility.
Reardon says they looked at numerous buildings from across the state to come up with this design. "Ultimately, it's kind of a multi-building complex," says Reardon. "It encompasses our transitional work program, our training and visitation...We're going to have some secure housing for those individuals that are on the road crews...and we're also going to have a warehouse which is going to encompass our laundry, our inmate industries, our inmate processing center and a maintenance there for the sheriff's office."
Reardon used the words "cost effective" when talking about the new facility. So, how was it funded and what is its impact to the Parish and its taxpayers? "We didn't have to go up to ask for an increase in millage to pay for this...Because of the aggressive management of the financial system by the sheriff's office, specifically Sheriff Neustrom, we were able to fund this by going out and purchasing the bonds and we will be able to pay it back over the next 20 years," says Reardon.
Reardon went on to point out that the jail downtown, built in 1984, was initially built to house 338 inmates. Currently, he says, there are over 900 inmates in that facility. The jail downtown is owned by Lafayette Consolidated Government, while this one will be owned by the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office. "It's going to actually create flexibility for the future, it's going to be kind of the cornerstone of the Sheriff's Office, I believe, for the next 30 to 50 years."
Reardon says, ultimately, they try to build skill sets into the prisoners and get them jobs so that way they could be productive to society when they get out and not recidivate. "We've done studies in our own system, and if they (inmates) go through our system they are a lot less likely to recidivate than in other systems," Reardon says.
To listen to Director of Corrections Rob Reardon with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office's complete interview on "Your Afternoon Drive Home," CLICK BELOW: