District defender says short staff contributing to problems at Caddo Correctional Center

Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 4:47 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Leaders are still brainstorming ways to help with overcrowding at the Caddo Correctional Center.

[RELATED: Officials discuss possible solutions to overcrowding at Caddo Correctional]

At this time, the CCC is holding 1,070 inmates. That’s more than 400 over their capacity.

One of the solutions addressed at the Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee meeting earlier this week was to have more trials and add swing judges. However, District Defender Mary Harried said they would not have enough staff to support that.

Currently, there are 10 full-time public defenders and 10 district attorneys. Sheriff Steve Prator wrote the following statement:

“There are currently more than 250 inmates that have been in jail for more than a year awaiting trail. Even more troublesome is that 50 inmates have been in jail more than two years awaiting trial, and 20 inmates have been in jail more than three years awaiting trial.”

Harried said there are many factors contributing to the CCC problem. One of those being cases that need to be closed.

“Some of that is having the staff to be able to sit down and resolve cases, and what we talked about in the meeting today and Tuesday was looking at bonds. There are some cases with non-violent felony offenses being the charge that we can consider the bond,” she said.

Legal expert J. Antonio Florence said closing more cases should be at the forefront.

”I’ve spoken to public defenders and they’ve told me, and from my own experience in the courtroom, this is the issue and cases not moving. A case may happen for example January 2022 and it’s still pending. When I say no movement, no negotiations, no trial dates just constant continuous,” he said.

Harried said there are many solutions on the table up for discussion. Some can help faster than others.

“We talked about if possibly we can look at risk assessments that might identify people that could be released on monitors and/or people who are released on a lower bond.”

Harried says at the meeting earlier this week, some attorneys offered to volunteer their time Shreveport.