I am not against finding ways to handle and house our juvenile criminals. My concern is with the process in which we achieve the result and revolves around the issue of public disclosure and the lack of advanced open communication by those who have conspired to conceal a new jail from the residents of Judice and Ridge.
In this latest episode of "Fool the Public," an out-of-town company has already secured property in the Judice/Ridge community to build a new juvenile jail ("Hard Sell," May 30). They are so far along in the process that plans have been submitted to parish planning for permitting. Their very first public meeting was Friday, May 18, in which they did a grand dog and pony show to convince the locals just how wonderful the world would be once they opened this new juvenile jail. I do not debate the merits of their program; however, I am appalled at the process.
An out of town company, with the full knowledge and endorsement of our sheriff, perpetrated gross concealment and public deception by not informing the local community in advance of its purpose. There were no advance public meetings nor opportunity for prior public input ' only an after-the-fact meeting to extol the project's virtues.
The Judice/Ridge community is comprised of good, moral, family-oriented people who place great pride in their neighborhoods, their schools, their rural lifestyle, and above all, a safe living environment. These residents are very upset and are well justified in their anger. They were kept in the dark until the deal was just about complete.
Would you allow this type of venture in your neighborhood? Could you imagine the outcry if this were happening in River Ranch, Greenbriar, Broadmoor, Oakbourne or on East Bayou Parkway?
With more than 20 years of developing prisons, I know that to gain support for a sensitive venture you must allow the community full and complete access to the process. To have long term success you must allow community input. You must give everyone the opportunity to express their concerns. None of this was done in a fashion that could have created trust or community support.
Maybe the $10 million state contract blinded all those involved. Whatever the reason, the credibility of this new project is diminished, the public's faith and trust in government has been damaged, and residents' rights have been violated. It's unacceptable for our elected officials to participate in public deception and concealment. If you like the way this was handled, just wait until they begin trying to locate a new parish prison.
(LeBlanc is president of LCS Corrections Services Inc. ' Ed.)
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, December 10, 2013:
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.
Lawmakers and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration shared a collective sigh of relief with the news that Louisiana's tax amnesty program brought in the $200 million that they used to help balance this year's budget.
Drew Brees often makes the extraordinary look routine, particularly during night games in the Superdome.
The teams were extended invitations Sunday for the New Year's Day matchup played at Raymond James Stadium, home of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
If all 44 projects are approved, about $300 million would remain in the fund set up as a down payment to help the Gulf.
Last week, the Saints gave up 429 yards to Seattle, second most in a game this season.
Since Anthony Jennings and Brooks Haack were not expected to contribute until next year at the earliest, it seemed like a sneak peek at hidden Christmas gifts.
Louisiana National Guard personnel seeking benefits for same-sex spouses will have an easier time filing the requests, despite a state refusal to let its workers process the paperwork.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera sees one potential flaw with his team's stellar defensive play so far this season. "Apparently we like to bite on the double moves," Rivera said.
Computer hackers may have gained access to the personal information of thousands of Louisiana residents who use debit cards issued by JPMorgan Chase for three state agencies, authorities said Wednesday.
Jim Purcell, who has been in the job since February 2011, notified the Board of Regents about his decision at its monthly meeting.
Hushed plans for a commercial development along the Louisiana Avenue portion of the Holy Rosary campus put the future of longtime tenant EarthShare Gardens in jeopardy.
If a recent advertisement in The Daily Advertiser is any indication, speculation the local daily will be implementing the “Butterfly Project” could be more of a reality than the Gannett-owned paper’s top execs are willing to admit.
Mettenberger injured his left knee while unloading a 32-yard completion in the fourth quarter of No. 14 LSU's 31-27 victory over Arkansas last Friday, and LSU coach Les Miles confirmed the severity of the injury on Wednesday.
An ordinance to phase out a 2 percent rebate to Lafayette merchants for collecting and remitting on time sales taxes cleared the City-Parish Council by a 6-3 vote.
Louisianans are the fourth most likely to use profanity yet also the fourth most likely to be courteous. So, please, just kiss my a** ... if it’s not too much trouble.
The state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority voted Tuesday to authorize two lawsuits against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
A long night on the field in Seattle got even worse off of it, and now the Saints are operating on a compressed time-frame as they brace for surging Carolina with first place in the NFC South at stake.
Public school letter grades, teacher evaluations and student promotion won't be affected by Louisiana's shift to more rigorous educational standards for two years, the state's top school board decided Tuesday.
Vitter told The Associated Press that he is sending an email to supporters Wednesday and is in discussions with his family about the possibility.
The Ragin' Cajuns go for New Orleans Bowl three-peat, this time against the Tulane Green Wave, which is making its first postseason appearance since the Hawaii Bowl in 2002.
Louisiana has joined four other states in filing a so-called “friend of the court” brief in support of Mississippi’s lawsuit against the federal government over new flood insurance rates set to go into effect.
Kerry Wayne Bertrand was charged Monday for the alleged killing of his stepdaughter, Skylar Lee Credeur, a UL Lafayette chemistry major found dead in the bathtub of her family home in August.
Louisiana's state school board is considering a two-year delay for some consequences tied to the phase-in of more rigorous educational standards, called Common Core, at public schools.