‘It’s a temporary fix’: Violent youth offenders could be moving to Jetson Center near Baker sooner than expected
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The disaster of a youth detention center near New Orleans almost got an innocent man killed this weekend.
Authorities say it was the fifth escape from the Bridge City Center for Youth since November and resulted in the shooting of a man in Uptown New Orleans Sunday.
Now, Gov. John Bel Edwards says he’s ready to step things up. But that rush to do something could mean they are headed to our area sooner than later.
The Jetson Center for Youth near Baker is the same site where female inmates are kept, after some of them were transferred during the 2016 Flood.
But local officials who represent the area, say they need a lot more information and communication from the Office of Juvenile Justice before they get behind this idea.
‘Concerned’ is the word that came up often when discussing the possibility of violent young offenders from across the state being transferred to the Jetson Center near Baker soon.
“They are expressing some concern,” said Carl Dunn, Chief of Police in Baker.
“Just lots of calls to my office, making inquiries as to what was going on,” said Chauna Banks, Metro Councilwoman for District 2.
“Many of my constituents shared their concerns,” said Regina Barrow (D), State Senator for District 15.
This comes after multiple breakouts and riots at juvenile centers across the state recently, including the almost deadly escape at the Bridge City Center for Youth Sunday.
“There’s a lot of questions that need to be answered before any move takes place,” said Banks.
There are worries about not only the security in and around the facility, but also young men being housed near women.
“Everybody’s facing a manpower (issue). Well guess what, Lester. When it’s safety concerns, we can’t always holler manpower, we’ve got to do what we can do,” said Chief Dunn.
“I mean, it doesn’t make sense number 1 to have the ladies and the students, male students, on the same campus, that’s number 1. That’s one thing that really concerns me, and I need to see the plan,” said Senator Barrow.
State Senator Regina Barrow has been a part of these conversations.
“I’ve been advised, and I’ll share with the secretary, that when he gets ready to move that small segment, 10 maximum, 15 young people, to come up there while they are renovating where they currently come from, that we are notified when they are transferred,” said Senator Barrow.
She says the Office of Juvenile Justice has assured her, that the move to Jetson is just a temporary fix.
“But you want it on record from them,” questioned WAFB’s Lester Duhe’.
“Oh yes. I’m definitely getting it on record. And I’m going to hold them to it,” said Senator Barrow.
“That this is just a temporary fix,” said Duhe’.
“It’s a temporary fix,” said Barrow.
Although it will likely fall on the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office if an escape happens, the Baker Police Department is already getting prepared for the what if.
“We will be start rehearsing now, steps to put in place, in regard to procedures to put in place just in case there’s a breakout. I want to work in unison because I’m sure they want everyone to be safe, we for sure want all our citizens and everybody in this surrounding unincorporated area to be as safe as possible,” said Chief Dunn.
Gov. Edwards’ office said it will reveal “a detailed plan” for the Bridge City Center For Youth on Tuesday.
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