Plaquemines Big New Expensive Jail Will Remain Mostly Empty!!
You think Orleans Parish jailer Marlin Gusman is the only regional jailer in trouble? Hell no! Plaquemines Sheriff Lonnie Greco has really made a mess of his domain. He responsible for a giant, hurricane proof jail for 871 inmates, but he only plans to utilize approximately 100 of the available beds. The cost of the Plaquemines Parish Detention Center is $118 million, and it’s a state of the art building. The technological features include bio-metric locks that allow deputies to scan their fingerprints with a key card to open doors with restricted access. The jail can operate for three to five days without power. It has a elevated design and is a whopping 19 feet off the ground and is 210,000 square feet. It has a geothermal water system and a wood-floor basketball court.
Former sheriff Jiff Hingle bears a lot of the blame here. Hingle, a five term sheriff and former president of the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association, is the man responsible for building this monstrosity. He had the dream former Orleans Parish Sheriff Charles Foti had, of making money on incarceration. Granted on a smaller scale, but that dream directly led to the humongous new Plaquemines jail. Foti was very successful at this. Hingle wasn’t.
This is a great scandal! Talk about building an ultra modern giant white elephant with a great view of the Mississippi River. I’m sure Marlin is jumping for joy, now that another jailer has acted like an idiot and wasted vast amounts of cash while building the wrong building. Sound familiar?
Greco has said he will talk to Gusman about holding any overage OPP might have. He also will approach the feds about holding their prisoners. At the moment, the state and the feds have taken all their prisoners out of OPP since it is widely considered to be an unsafe jail where constitutional rights are somewhat trampled.
This is from the builder’s web site- This project is a replacement prison for the prison that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The project located in Plaquemines Parish around Davant, LA (approximately 20 miles southeast of New Orleans), consists of the construction of a new 871 inmate adult corrections facility, approximately 207,000 square feet. The building will be built on a podium deck at elevation 19’ out of precast columns and double tees/flat slabs in order to protect the structure from flooding. Storm surge from Katrina brought nearly 28’ of water on to the site.
Two of the three jail’s three wings will be mothballed from the start with a climate controlled environment to prevent mold and mildew from setting in. They probably will never be used. What a colossal boondoggle!
So who is making out like bandits here? Not the jailer, who will be tarred and feathered for his lapses in judgement. The builder comes out smelling clean and the architect does also. They made big bucks for developing the building plans and constructing the new jail in the same location as the jail wrecked 9 years ago by Hurricane Katrina. Also the ‘dirt’ contractor, who removed and hauled away the old jail, they got paid handsomely as well.