Officials Push Back Opening of Lafourche Correctional Complex

THIBODAUX, La. — Lafourche Parish correctional officials have cited continued cost and design negotiations for the delays in progress on the new 600-bed, direct supervision Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex in Thibodaux. While the complex was originally scheduled to open in late 2017 or early 2018, the opening date has since been pushed to August 2018.

When complete, the $30 million, 134,000-square-foot complex will sit on a 42-acre site the county purchased in 2015. Since the project’s June 2016 groundbreaking, construction crews have already completed some site and foundation work. However, Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre, speaking with local news outlet the Daily Comet, attributed the delays to the parish’s thoughtful approach to planning.

“We could probably have the jail 25 percent complete if we had simply gone to someone and said, ‘Give us a canned, off-the-shelf jail that you built somewhere else and just tell us how much it costs,’ and not made any decisions,” Webre told the Daily Comet. “We would have ended up with someone else’s jail, and it would not have been specific to the mission statement of what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Recent changes to the original plans include designing a special needs unit and a maximum-security housing unit in such a way that both can be monitored simultaneously by just one correctional officer, and positioning the intake unit alongside the medical unit to increase staff efficiency. The jail will also offer both contact and video visitation spaces.

The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office is working with GraceHebert Architects of Baton Rouge and locally based Duplantis Design Group to develop the design, and the project’s construction manager at-risk (CMAR) is Philadelphia, Miss.-headquartered Yates Construction. The project team is using the CMAR method, which entails a commitment by the construction manager to deliver the project within a specified cost through working with the architect to ensure the design fulfills the needs of the facility, according to a statement by the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office.