Forcht Wade, the state prison in southwest Caddo Parish, will change early next year to primarily a substance abuse-treatment facility for male inmates. The intake of prisoners headed from parish jails to state prisons, along with the treatment of all severely ill prisoners, will now be done by one prison in South Louisiana. That decision by state prison officials will reduce the number of inmate beds at the Spring Ridge facility to 500. The number of employees at Forcht Wade will be reduced by 50. A handful of employees will be transferred while others will get first consideration for any open jobs in the Department of Corrections. Officials have not said how many people will lose their jobs. DOC Secretary James LeBlanc said the changeover, which will begin in February, is being made to address many offenders' biggest problem: substance abuse. "Roughly 80 percent of Louisiana's offender population either has a history of substance abuse or is incarcerated on drug-related offense," LeBlanc said today. "If released without treating the root cause or co-existing disorder, offenders will likely return to alcohol and/or drugs" after being paroled. The treatment program at Forcht Wade will target inmates who are either nearing their release from prison or nearing eligibility for work release assignment. Forcht Wade's role as a facility for inmates with critical health and mental problems that require skilled nursing care will be consolidated at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center south of Baton Rouge, where they are already done. The streamlining is expected to save DOC $1.7 million, LeBlanc said. Inmates will be transferred out of Forcht Wade over the next two months, LeBlanc said. Between 100 and 150 offenders currently at the prison will remain there to participate in the program.