BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)- A plan six years in the making. A new women’s prison will be the beginning of the end of temporary housing for many female inmates in Louisiana.

“It was August ‘16 when we had the second big flood of 2016,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said.

The flood destroyed the state’s only women’s prison and displaced many female inmates. Now, the Louisiana Correctional Institute for women is underway. It’s promised to be built to withstand a 500-year flood. 

“We’re talking about a 150 million dollar investment, 938 beds,” said Edwards.

The new facility will have a more modern layout, more space, and more resources that will focus on education, medical and mental health. The new facility will also have a postpartum unit.

“When you are pregnant and in prison and you give birth, you have about one day to spend with your baby while you’re in the hospital,” said Natalie LaBorde with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections.

State and local leaders hope the new facility will help rehabilitate more women. Ivy Mathis, founder of Successful Imperfections, and Christi Cheramie, who was affected by the 2016 flood while incarcerated, both say resources like this set women up for success upon release. 

“As a formerly incarcerated woman who served 26 years two weeks and five days, it speaks in volumes to my heart because I’m now on this side,” said Mathis.

“They haven’t been in a comfortable situation, they need to have a place where they can grow content,” said Cheramie.

The new women’s facility is the first to be built in more than three decades. Construction on the new LCIW is expected to be completed at the end 2024.