By Associated Press - Saturday, March 15, 2014

COVINGTON, La. (AP) - St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain and Louisiana corrections officials are sorting out what will happen to the 148 inmates who were housed at Northshore Workforce LLC’s facility in Covington.

The decision to shutter the inmate work release program came this week after a third escape in the past month.

The 148 men who had been housed at Northshore were returned to the St. Tammany Parish Jail on Thursday.



Pam Laborde, spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections, told the New Orleans Advocate (https://bit.ly/1eEcnXk) that the department is making an effort to work with employers who were affected by Northshore’s closure. She said it could be weeks before the work release situation is settled.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Capt. George Bonnett said the office would not discuss the location of inmates or the timing of any movement between facilities for security reasons.

Northshore Workforce was launched in 2008 by a group of western St. Tammany businessmen. They built a facility to house work-release inmates behind the St. Tammany Parish Jail.

Transitional work programs are designed to give inmates nearing the end of their sentences a chance to earn money and gain job skills. The inmates are paid. Program operators keep 62 percent of inmates’ gross wages or $63.50 per day, whichever is less.

Marlin Peachey Jr., managing partner of Northshore Workforce, said he and the other owners will discuss their options for the building. Peachey declined to say whether Northshore Workforce would attempt to reopen.

Laborde said corrections officials will work with Strain to do the best for inmates who were following the rules and hoped to make some money before their release.

Northshore Workforce is one of two private companies that run Strain’s work release program. The other company, St. Tammany Workforce Solutions, based in Slidell, was not shut down, authorities said.

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Information from: The New Orleans Advocate, https://www.neworleansadvocate.com

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