CPPJ Parish Admin. says Phelps closure is devastating - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

CPPJ Parish Admin. says Phelps closure is devastating

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CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

For an area the size of DeQuincy, the closure of Phelps Correctional Center is monumental, and not just for the 270 employees affected.

"There's a lot of businesses and others that depend on that for their livelihoods," Calcasieu Parish Administrator Bryan Beam said.

Everyone across the parish is coming together to see what can be done to help the people who will  be impacted the most, according to Beam.

"The public revenue loss from that will be significant, but I think the employment of the residents in that area is really the key that we want to try to help those folks find other work or find other capacity for them," he said. "But DeQuincy will make it through and the area around it and everybody is very supportive trying to overcome this obstacle."

Through the Parish's work force development center, they are finding opportunities for those Phelps employees for retraining or other job opportunities. Beam said they are trying to be proactive in this effort during this challenging time.

And the possibility of privatizing the jail, Beam said, it's still too early to tell.

"The avenues for what can you do in place of this are still being explored, but certainly it's such a good asset and if it could be used to bring income back to that area and keep those folks employed, that would be a great outcome," he said.

And since the announcement of the prison closing just came out, Beam said they're just going to see what happens and take it one step at a time.

The DeQuincy area CPPJ Juror, Sandy Treme, was absent at Thursday, Sept. 20 CPPJ meeting due to prior engagements, and was not present to comment on the Phelps issue. 

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