DeQuincy residents react to Phelps Center layoffs - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

DeQuincy residents react to Phelps Center layoffs

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For close to 270 employees at the C. Paul Phelps Correctional Center in DeQuincy, the announcement of the jail closing its doors came as a complete surprise.

"Very bad for our area here. I'm sick and tired of it myself," said state Rep. James K. Armes, D-Leesville. "I'd like to demand an explanation from the administration why they didn't let us say so since we represent these areas of the state."

Armes said no one in his delegation knew this layoff and closure were happening. Nearly 270 employees at Phelps will be laid off with about 92 employees moving to other state prisons. 

Along with employees, 900 inmate beds will move to Angola state prison, even after cuts were made there as well.

"Not counting the economic impact it's going to have on our community here," Armes said. "It's going to devastate Beauregard Parish and part of Calcasieu Parish."

And many feel the same way.

"If we have less people here, we're going to have less people spending money and as a small business (owner), I can see if people move out it's going to affect other businesses here," Brenda Evans of DeQuincy said.

"That's sad, you know. That's going to hurt the economy," Patrick Dupin of DeQuincy said. "I think it's sad for jobs to be cut anywhere because everybody needs them these days."

But for Stevie Davis of DeQuincy, her husband works as a lieutenant at Phelps. Come November, he'll be out of a job -- her family's only source of income.

"I'm outraged," Davis said. "We were sitting down watching the news and he's getting ready to go to work and we found out then. It just came out of the blue."

KPLC will bring more information on the closure of the jail in later editions of 7News and online.

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