Gov. Edwards Announces Some Bridge City Center For Youth Inmates to be Moved to Angola

Photo by msppmoore | License

On Tuesday, Gov. John Bel Edwards announced a plan to improve security and conditions at the Bridge City detention center. On Saturday, six juveniles escaped from the center, including a 17-year-old who was re-arrested in New Orleans on Sunday after stealing two vehicles and leading police on a chase during which one person was injured.

“What happened this past weekend at Bridge City was completely unacceptable,” Edwards said. “The escape, the theft, the shooting, all of it.”

Many throughout Jefferson and Orleans Parishes have begun calling for the center to be closed, including State Representative Mandie Landry.

“I think this is more to get all our local officials together whether it’s state or the city council or the parish council. We need to do it together and say look, we obviously all think these kids need help and need more assistance than we can give them but for now they are a danger to themselves and others,” Landry said.

However, Gov. Edwards insists closing the facility isn’t an option, though he acknowledged, “We cannot continue to operate Bridge City as we have.”

Instead, some of what Bill Sommers, deputy secretary of the Office of Juvenile Justice called “the most troubled youth” currently housed at the Bridge City Center For Youth will be moved to a “secure, independent housing unit” at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in West Feliciana Parish. Department of Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc noted that they “will be kept separate from adults” inside the prison, and will be under Office of Juvenile Justice supervision.

In addition, around 100 yards of fencing around the facility will be reinforced beginning tomorrow. In June, Edwards ordered the Louisiana State Police and the Department of Public Safety and Corrections to provide additional personnel to the facility who normally worked as probation and parole officers. Those guards were authorized to carry pepper spray and stun guns and were allowed to employ use-of-force tactics that many experts warned could further escalate violence at the facility.

While it’s not clear what staffing looked like at the facility on Saturday morning, according to Edwards, an “initial review” of conditions at the center showed “numerous deficiencies and failures,” including “a violation of the approved plan of action for the additional security.”

Over the past year, 26 juveniles have escaped from the center. Three officials from the Office of Juvenile Justice have been put on administrative leave pending a more thorough investigation.

Help Keep Big Easy Magazine Alive

Hey guys!

Covid-19 is challenging the way we conduct business. As small businesses suffer economic losses, they aren’t able to spend money advertising.

Please donate today to help us sustain local independent journalism and allow us to continue to offer subscription-free coverage of progressive issues.

Thank you,
Scott Ploof
Big Easy Magazine

Share this Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *