By MELINDA DESLATTE
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana's corrections secretary says a proposal to cut the rate paid to sheriffs for housing state inmates in local jails would be a "disaster waiting to happen."
Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc told the House Appropriations Committee on Monday that sheriffs would be unable to cover the costs of housing inmates at a reduced rate of $19.39 per day, a proposal floated to help close next year's budget gap.
LeBlanc says sheriffs would likely refuse to take many of the inmates, forcing them back into state prisons, which he says don't have the place to house them. He says the prisons would have to put prisoners on the floors on mattresses, which could threaten public safety.
Sheriffs currently get paid $24.39 per day for each inmate they keep in parish jails.