Council approves St. Charles Parish sheriff’s request to increase jail rates

With the last jail rate hike requested 10 years ago, St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne asked the Parish Council for one and got it.

At the Aug. 20 meeting, the Parish Council unanimously approved raising the daily rate to $30 a day to house parish prisoners or pre-trial inmates.

“We can’t be expected to provide them great medical care, food and security for $24 a day,” Champagne said. “It cost us more than that. The jail has never been for profit, but it cost us money to run a jail.”

The sheriff added, “It’s less money than I’ve got to take away from buying new cars and equipment, and giving people raises to put people in jail.”

Champagne said he should be asking for more, but this is fair request.

Chief Administrative Officer Billy Raymond affirmed the request was reasonable.

“A $6 increase over 10 years is very reasonable and in line,” Raymond said of the administration’s position on the hike that will be effective Oct. 1.

Champagne said the jail houses three types of inmates, including parish inmates along with state and federal inmates. Based on a recent cost assessment for federal prisoners, the per diem is $62 a day.

“My office spends $2 million more on the jail than we receive in revenue,” Champagne said. “ It’s part of our duty.”

Champagne said his office also built the headquarters and training facility – $8 million each – by borrowing the money without parish assistance.

“I’ve taken a big burden off the Parish Council by footing the cost of these buildings,” he said.

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