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Juvie jail task force takes tour of facility, media not allowed in

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BATON ROUGE - The media were not given access inside the East Baton Rouge Juvenile Detention Center on Wednesday, but members of the task force created to improve it were not impressed by what they were allowed to see.

Wednesday's tour was in response to repeated escapes and outbreaks of violence at the facility.

"The standards never caught up with the needs of the community, the needs of the criminal justice system as well as the types of crimes that many of the youth housed here are now committing," task force member Leslie Ricard said.

Task force member and Metro Councilman Darryl Hurst described how unsecured the 70-year-old facility is.

"If you saw the doors that were broken into--they're older, the locks are on the outside, it's not a high security facility. It's a detention center. People are expected to be here for 30 days or maybe 60 to 90 days at the longest. But you have people here for two and a half years," he said.

Hurst says addressing those issues would fix a lot of problems including break outs.

"We have to process them faster, number one, but we also need to have a facility that's stronger."

But according to the task force, replacing the outdated infrastructure would not be cost efficient. Instead they believe the City-Parish needs an entirely new facility.

"My opinion is the facility has no choice but to replace it. Our next step would be to go to Terrebonne and to Lake Charles to look at those facilities and potentially go to two more out of state to determine what a new facility looks like."

Until that happens, there are security upgrades in the works including new doors, security cameras and a fence with razor wire.


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