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'We're headed for a disaster:' Community members respond after touring parish prison

1 week 1 day 1 hour ago Tuesday, June 11 2024 Jun 11, 2024 June 11, 2024 6:03 PM June 11, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - On a rare occasion Tuesday, community members were invited by the juvenile detention task force to get an inside look at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. 

Baton Rouge resident Sheila Lewis said when she stepped into the jail Tuesday for the tour, she was shocked by the condition of it.

"There is a 911 in this community and that is a need to construct a better jail," Lewis said. "To see the filth, the peeling paint, the dilapidated building people built back in the '50s. We have got to address this issue because I do know that if we don't, we're headed for a disaster."

The East Baton Rouge Parish Prison and Juvenile Detention Center Task Force joined together to invite the community to visit the parish prison in hope of giving the public a better understanding of the facility's operations and conditions.

Metro Councilmember Darryl Hurst is on the task force and pushed for the community tours — something that the facility has never allowed. 

"We actually got to take the everyday citizen behind the bars so they could see the deplorable conditions that the inmates and staff have to be a part of everyday," Hurst said. 

WBRZ was not allowed in.

"We wanted people to be themselves, everybody's not used to cameras in their face, so we wanted them to give honest feedback," Hurst said. 

Though we couldn't come in, Hurst said WBRZ's report on the open tours during 2une In brought in a bigger crowd than expected.

"After the initial report came out this morning, we had about 20 to 30 more people who wanted to go on the tour, we actually had about 15 to 20 people who showed up today that were unable to do so because we capped out at 20,” Hurst said.

Lewis said the message should be sent out to the whole community. 

"All of us cannot come to the tours each week or each month, whenever they are, but I think we can find a way to utilize technology to reach the masses of people in our community,” Lewis said. "I do believe that if others could see what was going on we would begin to form community pockets."

Organizers hope more people will come out and take a look as more tours are being scheduled.

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