OJJ to temporarily move juveniles from troubled Bridge City facility to Jetson Center in Baker

Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 10:53 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - There is a plan in place to temporarily move some of the most violent juveniles in Louisiana to the Jetson Center in Baker.

The Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ) will temporarily relocate young offenders from the Bridge City for Youth in Jefferson Parish to the Jetson Center. The Jetson Center currently operates as the Louisiana Institute for Women (LCIW) and houses female inmates.

The plan is to rotate about a dozen juveniles at a time to complete upgrades and renovations at Bridge City, a place that has seen 20 escapes and large riots within the past year.

Even though officials have had a lot of trouble keeping inmates inside the facilities, some lawmakers say there is a secure way to make this work and to make sure the young boys and women inmates remain segregated at Jetson. Sen. Patrick Connick explained this situation in an interview in June.

“I know it’s a women’s facility but there is a way to segregate the boys from the women inmates. It’s secure, that’s coming from the governor, but I think that needs to be done immediately. The governor promised to get that done in three months,” Connick said.

However, neighbors who live near the Jetson Facility fear trouble will come.

“We don’t need that over here, man. I have a family I need to take care of and watch out for. Not only family but people I’ve been knowing my whole life,” Howard Jones said.

Jones explained further doubts about the plan.

“I’ve been knowing this facility my whole life and been around it. I know guys that have broken out, and when they break out the first place they come is this way,” Jones said.

“We know the results. We know what they’ve done in the past,” Umar Bey said.

As of Monday, no inmates have been moved yet, but some feel community members should have had a chance to give some feedback.

“It should be a community study first, talk to the community and get their input first before you bring these types of offenders in this neighborhood,” Bey said.

In the meantime, Jones said all they can do is hope for the best.

“Just pray to God that they don’t let an escape or riot happen,” Jones said.

According to Sen. Regina Barrow, they will be notified once they begin to start moving the juveniles. She also said she will closely monitor the situation to ensure OJJ is upholding its commitment.

WAFB reached out to OJJ for comment. They promised to get back to us after the publication of this story.

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