Jetson Center for Youth juveniles moved to Monroe, New Orleans - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; |

Jetson Center for Youth juveniles moved to Monroe, New Orleans centers

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BATON ROUGE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - All youth housed at Jetson Center for Youth, in Baker, Louisiana, have been relocated to other Office of Juvenile Justice secure care facilities.

The following is a statement released by the state:

The transfer took place in the early hours of this morning, and all 76 youth who were residents at Jetson are now at Swanson Center for Youth in Monroe or Bridge City Center for Youth near New Orleans.  

The transfer took place under tight security to ensure public safety.   Parents of residents are being notified of the transfer and location of their sons.  

 "The reasons for the transfer of youth are actually very simple – we have determined that the environment at Jetson was not conducive to delivery of the therapeutic model while ensuring safety of youth and staff," said OJJ Deputy Secretary Dr. Mary L. Livers.

"In the past few years, we have worked to implement a therapeutic model in Louisiana," Dr. Livers continued.  "This transfer will help us continue that process so we can provide treatment to these youth."

"At this point we would need to evaluate whether to modernize the existing buildings or replace the facility with a smaller, new facility," Dr. Livers said.

"This is a proactive move that we believe fits into our larger plan for the future; the current Jetson facility does not fit into our reform efforts." said Dr. Livers. "We will now move forward with evaluating the needs in this region and planning for a facility that will better meet our mission and provide youth with a quality treatment environment."

The existing facility was designed in the 1940s as a correctional style institution for juveniles.  Dormitory configurations do not allow for appropriate supervision of youth by staff.  Jetson comprises several hundred acres of property, but only a very small area has been in use.  Movement of youth and staff has been hard to control and monitor due to the large size of the property and location of buildings. 

"We feel that we have better options," Dr. Livers added.  "Since 2009, our secure care population has decreased 26 percent.  We have opened Swanson Center for Youth at Columbia, and we are about to break ground for the Acadiana Center for Youth in Bunkie.   We have available space at our other existing facilities to house the 76 youth from Jetson.  Swanson in Monroe has 8 housing units and we have opened 3 additional dorms there.  Bridge City has 10 dormitories to accommodate the Jetson youth.  In addition, we increased the number of youth in most existing dorms by two – from 12 to 14."  

"By transferring youth away from an obsolete and costly physical plant and placing them at facilities more suitable for effective implementation of the therapeutic model, we will better ensure the safety of youth and staff," Dr. Livers said.

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