- Associated Press - Saturday, September 6, 2014

OBERLIN, La. (AP) - Work on the new 200-bed, $3.8 million Allen Parish jail is about 40 percent complete and should be done by early 2015, Sheriff Doug Herbert III said.

Hebert told The American Press (https://bit.ly/1pDJnJB) that he hopes to have the administrative offices and staff in the new building by spring for training and security checks before moving male and female inmates into the prison.

The jail will replace an aging, overcrowded 40-bed jail behind the parish Courthouse.

Work began on the 40,000-square-foot facility last December. Weather delays have slowed the project by nearly four weeks, though Hebert said construction has proceeded at a steady pace.

The jail is being built on a 47-acre site just off Louisiana Highway 26, west of Oberlin. It will have eight single-story dome-like structures attached to a central control center.

“Our biggest reason for using the domes was to speed up the installation and to make it more energy efficient,” Hebert said. “Per square foot the cost of utilities will be far less than it is using the standard cinder blocks.”

The domes are built to withstand wind gusts of up to 100 mph and can be expanded if more space is needed in the future. Five of the eight domes will house inmates. The other three will house offices, including the 911 center, patrol division and booking center.

A control center in the middle of the complex will allow deputies to see every prisoner. Surveillance cameras and a double-perimeter fence will provide added security, Hebert said.

“Even if they could get out, it’s almost impossible because there’s nowhere to hide,” he said.

Other features will include 12 lockdown cells for at-risk inmates, two isolation cells for sick inmates, a suicide watch cell and four temporary holding cells. An outdoor recreation yard will be provided to meet requirements of prison facilities. But inmates will spend most of their time in the domes, Hebert said.

“The only movement will be for daily recreation, unless they are booking out or working as a trusty,” he said.

Construction of the jail is being funded by $3 million from a gambling compact with the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, $5.5 million in money raised through the State Bond Commission and other sources.


Information from: American Press, https://www.americanpress.com

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