Community leaders meet to address Swanson safety

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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - After more than a dozen escapes in 2018, Swanson Center for Youth is working on ways to make the facility and the community safer.

On Tuesday, community leaders from throughout Monroe came together to discuss safety at Swanson and brainstorm ways to bring the facility and the community together.

The group included Rep. Katrina Jackson, members of the church community, Monroe City School Board members, Monroe City Councilwoman Juanita Woods, Swanson staff, and two current inmates.

Swanson Executive Director Jabari Ransome led the round-table discussion.

The group talked about security, staff training, and some potential new programs for the inmates. They also took a tour of one of the dorms.

The state Office of Juvenile Justice helped organize the meeting.

Their Deputy Secretary said in light of the recent escapes, these conversations are necessary.

"I think they [the meetings] are vital to our operation just from an education standpoint," Dr. James Bueche said. "A lot of times we're behind the fence. People don't know who we are, who the kids are, or what kind of programs we have. So we see it as important to educate the community as much as we can about what we do."