Sheriff Agrees to Payback Agreement on New Jail Construction

Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone agreed at last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) to language guaranteeing repayment to the jury the cost of constructing a $2.75 million addition to the parish jail. That money would come from the detention center operating budget, which Stone controls.

Said Stone, “We know we have obligations, and we’re sure going to meet that to the best we can as long as I’m there. I don’t mind adding that on as an addendum to the legislation, or whatever.”

Stone’s remarks came in response to a series of questions from District Six Juror Walter Pullen.

Pullen asked who would be responsible for repayment, and expressed concern that jury needed formal assurance for that repayment.

Said Pullen, “We need to have something in writing that contractually obligates the Detention Center Commission to service the indebtedness to the best of their ability.”

District Nine Juror Joe Henderson, who also serves as the Detention Center Commission Chair, also agreed to those terms.

Henderson, “We have to understand and know that’s all going to be covered in the contract.”
Pullen: “But we need to make sure all that’s understood and in writing before we sign the contract.”
Henderson: “I know, but we’re going to make sure.”

The new ten thousand sq ft jail addition would create about 100 new spaces to house inmates, and would prevent having to house overflow prisoners at other local jails in adjoining parishes. When that condition occurs, the Lincoln jail must pay the housing costs to the other jails.

Several comments were made that suggested that the state legislation from 1982 that created the Commission already provided for repayment of the debt.

However, LA RS 15:848 et seq, the legislation from 1982 that created the commission has no such provision. That law only states that the commission is obliged to “operate and maintain” the jail.

The commission has a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the Sheriff’s Office to furnish manpower for the jail. The Sheriff also controls the money that operates the jail, provides medical care, and feeds the prisoners

That agreement, at present, has no language in at all allowing debt obligations, or repayment of any debt.

Pullen also asked Stone if he were running for reelection, but Stone declined to say. Pullen said it was a legitimate question, because if any agreement were made with the sheriff as the operator of the jail, it could not enforceable beyond his existing term.

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