JEFF DAVIS PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Jeff Davis Parish already has the funds from the state to build a new jail, but parish officials said maintenance and operation costs need to be taken care of before construction begins.
This past year alone, Jeff Davis Sheriff officials said 200 felony offenders were only cited due to lack of jail space.
"If we have a bigger facility there won't be any citing and releasing," said Sheriff Ivy Woods. "They will go to jail, because we will have room."
This is why parish officials said a ½ cent sales tax is important for operation and maintenance.
"We got $10 million dollars that came from the Capital Outlay Program from the state to build the facility, we just need money now to maintain the facility," said Woods.
The current jail holds less than 70 inmates and officials said the new jail would hold 200.
"Just imagine if you have someone break and enter your home and they're caught, and they're brought here and we release them due to lack of jail space," said Woods.
And it's not just lack of space, Woods said the current jail is run down.
"Our facility that we have on the third floor is outdated, it's falling apart, and we're working on it on a weekly basis," said Woods.
Voting for the ½ cent sales tax is May 3rd.
Parish officials are hosting an informative meeting for the public March 31st to talk more about the new jail and the tax.