The Webster Parish Women’s Jail is antiquated, Sheriff Gary Sexton said, and one police juror had concerns about overcrowding among other issues.
Following a recent visit, Police Juror Bernard Hudson, District 5, said he was concerned about the cramped space of the fourth floor of the Webster Parish Courthouse.
“The main thing I was concerned about was the crowdedness,” he said. “It’s a bit crowded up there.”
Sexton said the jail has been there for many years and is considered the parish jail.
“If something happened and Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center shut down, that is the jail,” he said. “We keep all the male inmates at BDCC and house the women on the fourth floor.”
The facilities are old, with lock and key cells and small hallways, but they do have heating and air conditioning, among other modern amenities.
“A lot of stuff in it is still manual,” he said. “Most of the things we do is replacing kitchen equipment, keeping it painted, and things of that nature.”
There has been no discussion of any possibility of construction of a new jail for the women, he said, but they do keep the women’s facility as up-to-date as they can.
The women’s jail has a capacity for 61 inmates, but the most they’ve had is about 55. As of Friday, their inmate count was 47 female prisoners.
The cells are different sizes and are constructed to meet the different needs. One cell has been designated as the day room, which has a television, tables and a microwave for the women. Cells hold up to 10 inmates, while others hold only two, he said.
There are three main blocks on the fourth floor, which hold anywhere from eight to 10 inmates.
The police jury and the sheriff’s office have a good relationship, he said, and the sheriff’s office is responsible for the maintenance of the prisoners, while the police jury handles expenses with the facility, such as kitchen equipment or repairs that need to be made. Usually, inmates provide the labor. Some repairs have been made recently.
The sheriff’s office leases the buildings at BDCC from Camp Minden, he said, and if, for whatever reason, he decided not to use those facilities, the buildings would be returned to the Louisiana National Guard.