Jindal silent on Phelps closure - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Jindal on Phelps' closure: DOC made 'right' decision

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Gov. Bobby Jindal released a statement to KPLC late Monday regarding the state's plans to close C. Paul Phelps Correction Center in DeQuincy.

Jindal, in his e-mailed statement to the station, said the Louisiana Department of Corrections made the decision.

"DOC made the right decision in closing Phelps. Moving prisoners from Phelps to other prisons that have excess capacity will save taxpayers millions of dollars while protecting public safety," Jindal said in the statement.

Jindal had been silent on the prison closure.

KPLC requested comment from the governor on Sunday and again on Monday, speaking with several Jindal staffers.

A comment from Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections spokesperson Pam Laborde was forwarded to the station on Sunday.

KPLC then contacted the Jindal administration again on Monday, asking again for direct comment from the governor, which was not sent by the time the station requested.

About two hours after KPLC posted a story about the governor's silence, a statement was released.

An announcement Friday by state prison officials to close C. Paul Phelps Correctional Center in DeQuincy came as a surprise to local and state officials.

Prison officials on Monday said Nov. 1 will be the prison's official closure date.


Here is the statement KPLC received from Laborde on Sunday:

From Pam Laborde with the State Dept. of Corrections:

"Closing Phelps and moving its prison population to prisons with sufficient capacity will save taxpayers $12 million dollars a year, while maintaining our strong commitment to public safety.

"Phelps was chosen for consolidation because the facility was old and inefficient, making it very costly for taxpayers to operate.  The majority of Phelps offenders will be transferred to Louisiana State Penitentiary where they will be housed separately from those serving life sentences, and have access to comparable reentry services than they did at Phelps.

"This is a good deal for Louisiana taxpayers and will result in significant savings while maintaining public safety."

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