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Office of Juvenile Justice meets with the Monroe/Ouachita NAACP

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 8:47 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - On May 13, the Monroe NAACP chapter met with the Office of Juvenile Justice at Swanson Correctional Center. This meeting comes after a recent guard attack and escapes at Swanson Correctional Center.

Big improvements are in the works for Swanson Correctional Center. It has had a troubled past for years and now following neighborhood complaints the NAACP and Office of Juvenile Justice are working to stop it once and for all.

Deputy Secretary William Sommers says it’s his job to make sure Swanson is a good neighbor in the community.

“I think, first of all, being a good neighbor is to make sure that the kids that are here, they stay here, you know, I mean, there’s been too many instances of kids going over the fence. And if I’m in the neighborhood, I would be a little bit nervous. Honestly, and truly, I mean, we need to do a better job. And that’s on me,” said Sommers.

And the joint effort is already sparking change. Sommers signed a contract with the Monroe Police Department to beef up outside security.

“We’re going to immediately fix up the issues that we have here. I’m not, we can’t wait. I mean, the community can’t wait. We can’t wait. The kids can’t wait. The staff can’t wait. We need to have immediate fixes. And we’re working on that. Every single day,” said Sommers.

Monroe Ouachita NAACP President Ambrose Douzart said they are also concerned about management.

“We talked about management change, and we talked about facility changes. We talked about a great leadership opportunity. Whether as a great leader, there are good followers,” said Douzart.

Both sides agreed to management reviews but no details were released. Douzart said the NAACP won’t stop until changes are made.

“We say to the community, be patient. Wait for these changes to occur,” said Douzart.

Douzart said they also agreed it would help if Swanson managers attended city council meetings to keep a pulse on neighborhood concerns.

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