Thursday, September 22

Prisons prep for storm

Prisons in Southwest Louisiana are also preparing for Hurricane Rita by calling in extra staff and securing their facilities.

The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office began evacuating all 1,200 prisoners because of the threat of the hurricane. 

The more serious offenders are being transported via the Louisiana Department of Corrections and the Federal Prison System. All others will be transported by school buses provided by the Calcasieu Parish School Board.  Prisoners will be housed in various facilities throughout the state. They will be brought back as soon as conditions are safe.

All offices of the CPSO were closed Thursday until Monday, Sept. 26. However, all emergency divisions, including patrol, will continue to be operational. For emergencies, people can call 911.

  Sheriff Tony Mancuso said all law enforcement agencies throughout the parish that the jail will remain operational for anyone who commits a major violent crime, as well as, anyone destroying property or looting in Calcasieu Parish.  These prisoners will be housed at their own risk.

Deputy Warden Bob Henderson of Phelps Correctional Center in DeQuincy said Thursday that prison staff members have taken all precautions necessary, including boarding up windows and removing debris from the prison grounds.

Henderson said as of Thursday, the prison had no plans to evacuate. He said some extra guards will be sleeping at the prison.

Henderson said the prison doesn’t have a fuel shortage now, but if the storm’s destruction is severe and fuel supplies are compromised, there could be a problem.
“We just have to wait and see,” he said.

The prison has generators and extra supplies as well.

At Vernon Correctional Center in Leesville, Warden Floyd Willis said prison staff members are taking similar precautions as Phelps.

Inmates have been filling sandbags and staff have gathered saws and tools to be used in the storm cleanup if necessary.

There are also extra guards on hand.

“Everyone is on alert. We just have to take it as it comes,” Willis said.
Officials at Allen Correction Center in Kinder would not comment on their storm preparations.

On Thursday, Glen Mears Sr., director of the Beauregard Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness, said about 125 registered sex offenders from Calcasieu Parish will be seeking shelter in Beauregard.

Mears said they have been instructed to register at the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office upon arrival.

Elona Weston
Staff writer

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