Leesville offers to house Beauregard inmates while repairs made

Published 4:33 pm Thursday, January 27, 2022

Beauregard Parish Administrator Bryan McReynolds said the entire inmate population at the parish jail is being relocated while extensive repairs are made to resolve health and safety issues at the facility in DeRidder.

McReynolds said the repairs will include lighting, electrical, plumbing and security issues that have been ongoing over the years, but were exacerbated by Hurricane Laura. He said the state health department had recently noted issues with lighting and showers within the jail that must be resolved.

“These are mostly problems that we have been seeing over the years because of the building’s age and original condition when it began being used as a jail. After experiencing the loss of power after Hurricane Laura, these issues have now reached a level that they must now be fully addressed,” McReynolds said.

The outer shell of the jail was originally purchased by the parish for $25,000 from Fort Polk in the early 1980s. It was then reconstructed to meet the needs of a jailhouse around 1985, according to parish officials.

Inmates will need to be housed elsewhere for the five to six months the construction is expected to take.

McReynolds said that timeline includes the work being performed, as well as the time for parts to be shipped to Beauregard Parish.

“We have been told to expect a four to six month wait on the doors and locking mechanisms due simply to supply chain issues. It’s just the environment we are in right now,” McReynolds said.

The cost to house inmates outside of the parish is expected to reach nearly $150,000 over the five months, McReynolds said.

The Leesville City Jail has offered to lease the facility to the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office at the cost of $1,000 per month. If approved by jurors, McReynolds said some Beauregard corrections officers and trustees will be moved to the Leesville facility to handle operations there.

The overall cost of the repairs and inmate housing expenses is expected to reach about $350,000, and McReynolds said the police jury will endeavor to use funds from the American Rescue Plan to assist with those costs.