district attorney said the last time the Baton Rouge misdemeanor jail was
opened people flooded the city courthouse to pay fines to avoid spending time
behind its bars and there are talks of re-opening the cells.
Moore said while re-opening the jail would help to clear up some 100,000 outstanding
warrants and fines in East Baton Rouge Parish, the biggest thing it would do is
reduce crime and help increase respect of the law.
that opening up this misdemeanor jail is going to fit in with the broken
windows approach," Moore said. "That is, take care of the small things and they
won't escalate to big things. Right now, people are ignoring the misdemeanor
summonses that are given to them."
Moore said re-opening
the jail would require approval from Mayor Kip Holden and the East Baton Rouge
Metro Council. The council would then have to decide where to get the $1.52
million it would take to operate it for one year. However, Moore added it would
be money well spent.
about making money or breaking even, it's about having the law enforced, having
the law respected and reducing crime," Moore explained. "We believe that $1.5 (million)
or $2 million is a small about of money to pay for the benefit that we're going
last housed people for a two-week period in 2012. According to reports, the
crime rate fell drastically and lots of people with outstanding fines and
warrants showed up to get those taken care before being put behind bars. Moore
said close to 6,000 people handled their infractions to avoid jail time. He
said opening the jail again would help re-establish a hold on the parish's
outstanding fines and warrants from the past year.
He added it
would also help law enforcement get an updated paper trail on repeat
misdemeanor offenders who've not been fingerprinted or photographed in the
that we just don't know that someone's been charged, maybe 10 or 20 times with
a certain offense, eventually they'll be arrested for a felony, they're
fingerprinted and it may look on paper that's their first offense and it's
really their twentieth," Moore said.
the jail is only approved to hold people for 48 hours at a time, but he also
said 80 percent of people bond out within the first 36 hours.
constable's office currently operates a jail at the city court. It is open from
8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If someone is picked up after business hours, there's no place
to send misdemeanor offenders.