Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Parish to jail misdemeanor criminals

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BATON ROUGE- A law passed in the session will allow courts to collect additional fees for bench warrants to help fund a misdemeanor jail in East Baton Rouge Parish.

The law, sponsored by Dan Claitor, allows courts to collect an additional $50 or $25 at city court for bench warrant fines.

That money will allow the parish to open up a short term misdemeanor jail to house people with bench warrants.

"A city like Baton Rouge, being as large as it is now, does need a misdemeanor facility, otherwise you have a whole bunch of outstanding warrants that are out there existing," said Maj. Reginald Brown, the Constable of East Baton Rouge.

The city currently has more than 100,000 bench warrants on file that represent at least $1 million dollars worth of fines owed to the courts.

The parish may decide to use the existing city court to house misdemeanor criminals, but it would need to be updated to handle a 24-hour load.

"This facility itself is one that we've got to look at it's capabilities and if it can withstand that," said Brown.

The parish may also decide to build a new facility, but that has not been determined yet.

The additional fees will begin in August.


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