Officials looking to build juvenile detention center in Ascension Parish

Friday, January 25, 2013 - 7:00am

Officials in Ascension Parish say they're looking at ways to house juvenile inmates inside parish limits.

The facility they use now, which is in St. James Parish, is closing later this year.

According to reports, there are about 1,400 crime-related incidents a year involving juveniles. Now, he's looking for a way to get juvenile offenders off the streets without breaking the bank.

The parish has several options, including sending inmates to another parish to building a new facility to share surrounding parishes.

Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez told NBC33 there are a few spots in the parish that he'd be able to build on; he added that a short term option is move the inmates to Assumption Parish instead of St. James, which would save the parish about $100 dollars a day.

This decision could impact taxpayers, and that's one reason Martinez wants the best decision for today and years down the road.

“We are looking at different options, as to what needs to be done,” stated Martinez. “We're meeting with the sheriff; we're also meeting with the judges, and trying to come up with a solution - a long term solution.”

As for the cost of a permanent juvenile detention center inside parish limits, Martinez said that the legislature gave the green light for a $1 million property tax; the proposed tax hasn't been put on a ballot yet, but it's there if officials determine it's needed. 

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