The Lincoln Parish Detention Center will end up with a $1.75 million deficit for 2013, it was revealed at this morning’s meeting of the five-person commission that oversees the jail. By law, any overages are the responsibility of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) and the City of Ruston. The costs are split 85/15, with the jury paying the greater amount.
Warden Jim Tuten, when asked who was responsible for the deficit, said “That goes back to the 85/15 statutory obligation on the jury and the City of Ruston.”
See here the 2013 budget
See here a 2013 analysis.
All of the overage was caused by extensive capital expenditures for neglected maintenance during the time LaSalle Corrections operated the facility. According to the contract with LaSalle, maintenance of the facility appeared to be their responsibility, but that provision was apparently never enforced.
At least $128 thousand of the capital expenditures was for five new vehicles – two Chevrolet Tahoes, and three passenger vans. All are for prisoner transport, we were told.
See here the documents.
Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone, a member of the commission, claimed his office would pay half of the capital expenditures from his budget.
Said Stone, “I made a commitment to a lot of the jurors that I would pay half – the Sheriff’s Office, not me – the Sheriff’s Office would pay half of the capital expense in order to rectify a major liability out there.”
The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office now operates the jail.
Also, the commission adopted a budget for 2014 that plans for revenues of $3.51 million and expenditures of $3.46 million
See here the document.
One glaring set of figures from the budgets was the amount of money that LaSalle was collecting from various programs that did not show up on the books, and that they were allowed to keep, per their contract. This was in addition to the nearly $30/day per prisoner that the taxpayers of Lincoln Parish were paying to LaSalle. The taxpayers must also pay $400 thousand to LaSalle as a “buyout” from the contract.
Almost $1.5 million from those programs will be collected in 2014, which will now go into the operation and maintenance of the jail.
- Prisoner work release – $554,365
- Department of Corrections – $623,165
- Telephone Commissions – $79,625
- Commissary Commissions – $192,420
Informed sources had earlier told us that the figures were “less than a million,” but obviously we were misled.
A public hearing on the 2014 budget was set for Thursday, 12/19, 10 AM, Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor.
Some Commentary, and an Apology
Last March we were optimistic that the money pit on Road Camp Road – the Lincoln Parish Detention Center – would be in the future operated efficiently. We were aware that there would now be some money that LaSalle was pocketing that would help defray costs.
It appears that optimism was misplaced.
We were not sufficiently skeptical when we would periodically ask jurors or staffers for revenue and expenditure figures and were either put off or told the new money would cover most of it.
We apologize to our readers for that lack of skepticism, and for not pressing harder to obtain those figures and making them public. The numbers are now public, and they don’t lie.
Accordingly, we will publish the transactions from the detention center’s general ledger, so that we all will know where the money goes.
See here the report for 7/1/2013-11/14/2013.
We will continue to publish the reports in the future.