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Violent teens likely to be moved to shuttered EBR facility after taking over another juvenile jail

5 months 1 week 2 days ago Friday, June 17 2022 Jun 17, 2022 June 17, 2022 5:07 PM June 17, 2022 in News
Source: WWL, WBRZ

BAKER - The state is expected to move as many as thirty of the most violent teenagers housed at a juvenile jail in New Orleans to the former Jetson facility in East Baton Rouge amid a last-ditch effort to take control of a facility plagued with problems.

"Some of the juveniles went into the infirmary and broke into there where the nurse had to lock herself into the closet to protect herself. By that time all control in the facility was lost," explained state senator Patrick Connick. 

Three people were hurt when teenagers in feuding gangs from New Orleans and Baton Rouge took control of the Bridge City Center for Youth in Jefferson Parish late Thursday night and into Friday morning.

"What you have is understaffed, over worked workers, and you have these violent offenders who really don't have respect for anybody. The way the facility is set up, you're asking for trouble and we're getting trouble," Connick said. 

In the aftermath, Jefferson Parish-area state Sen. Pat Connick said an emergency plan was set up to move teenagers to East Baton Rouge.

Connick said it will take about three months to get the facility prepared.  The state prisons system did not release any information about if the plans were viable.  Adult women have been housed at the facility after the August 2016 flood destroyed a state prison in Iberville Parish.

Jetson last housed teenagers in January 2014 but was closed when, in the dead of night, the state evacuated the teenagers housed there because of concerns over security.

"The current dorm configurations do not allow for appropriate supervision of youth by staff," former Office of Juvenile Justice deputy secretary Mary Livers said at the time.

Local politicians in Jefferson Parish are demanding the state shutter the Bridge City Center for Youth.

“This facility is not under control,” JP Councilman Deano Bonano told WWL TV. “The staff doesn’t have control over it. They’re outmanned, understaffed.”

A WBRZ reporter asked Senator Connick what the solution would be. 

"Close it, shut it down, move them out to a facility out of these neighborhoods and put them into a facility that's more secure with more guards with more protection with better services for them," he replied. 

Sources say it will take about 3 months to get the Jetson Juvenile Detention Center prepared. 

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