Sheriff agrees to federal corrections audit

The overcrowding conundrum continues at the Caddo Correctional Center. "Our jail was built in 1995 is when it opened it was built to hold about 1,000 people," Sheriff Steve Prator said Tuesday. "We now have about 1,400 in it, and so something's got to give."

What has to give, Prator says, is either going to have to be fewer inmates or a bigger jail.  But an expansion would come with a huge price tag: $100 million for a 1,000 extra beds. "And I'm not ready to go the taxpayers and ask for more money for a jail. We've gotta figure out a way to deal with what we got, with what we've got."

That's why the sheriff says he's agreed to an audit provided free of charge by the Department of Justice, though consultants with the National Institute of Corrections. "I invited them to come down and study our problem because we can't afford a new jail," Prator explains. "We're looking at an entire criminal justice overview as far as it relates corrections in our particular parish."

The DoJ consultants have already been in town for the past several days, and will present their findings and suggestions Thursday morning at the Independence Stadium Skybox, from 8 a.m. to Noon.  

Sheriff Prator says he has asked for this to be a public meeting, and is encouraging the media, elected officials, criminal justice members and the public to attend.