Caddo Sheriff opens new work release facility

Tuesday, July 21, 2009
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Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator today announced the official opening of a new facility built to house inmates participating in a Sheriff’s Office work release program.

The facility was paid for in full by inmates, not citizens, with revenue generated over the past five years from the work release program.

“Work release programs are designed to be completely self-sufficient with funds generated by non-violent offenders who are nearing the ends of their sentences,” Prator said. “This program operates completely in the black while preparing the inmates to re-enter society, so I’d say it’s been extremely successful.”

The Sheriff’s Office has grossed over $6 million since it started a work release program in 2004. The new 19,577-square foot building was built at a cost of about $4 million. The facility was designed by Alliance Inc. and built by Hand Construction.

The building is located adjacent to the Caddo Correctional Center at 1101 Forum Drive. It includes 240 bunks, a full kitchen, showers, and office space. Work release inmates are transported by deputies to jobs away from the jail compound during work hours and returned to the new facility to sleep. 

Even though work release inmates are low risk, the facility is still under constant surveillance. Full-time sheriff’s deputies are located on-site to assist in supervision, monitoring, and management of the offenders. 

Both the Caddo Sheriff’s Office and the Louisiana Department of Corrections have strict guidelines regarding who can participate in the work release program. They cannot be violent offenders or sex offenders.

To date, over 700 inmates at CCC have participated in the program. Inmates are hired for jobs like welding, painting, mechanics, and warehouse stocking. Offenders pay half their wages to the Sheriff’s Office for room and board, transportation and incidentals. Up to $300 a month can be paid toward family support and more can be paid for child support. To date, inmates have used work release wages to pay over $300,000 in family support and over $100,000 in child support. The rest of their wages are saved and given back to the inmate upon their release from jail. 

Prator said local employers have embraced the work release program since it started five years ago. “Employers know they will have dependable, drug-free employees who show up for work on time, eager to work,” he said. Employers are also eligible for a $2,400 tax credit per inmate if the inmate performs 400 hours of work in a calendar year. 

About 100 employers have participated in the program since 2004. There are currently 45 businesses participating.