KNOE Exclusive: Governor John Bel Edwards speaks on Swanson Center For Youth

Edwards says, ‘We are committed to making the necessary changes to personnel and the facility itself.’
Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 10:11 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - After years of escapees and violence at the Swanson Center for Youth in Monroe, Governor John Bel Edwards is speaking out about the needed changes at the facility.

In an exclusive conversation with KNOE Political Reporter Tyler Englander, Edwards highlighted the challenges of juvenile justice, saying, “Even know they are juveniles, they can be very difficult to control because for all practical purposes they look like grown men.”

Edwards says the facility has been ignored for years.

“Well, first of all, it’s been chronically underfunded for a very long time in terms of the physical plant,” said Governor Edwards.

Edwards says that changed in 2019 when lawmakers approved $60 million to go to the Office of Juvenile Justice. Some of that money will be put towards a complete makeover at Swanson.

“It’s going to be a modern facility,” said Edwards. “It’s going to be much smaller, easier to manage, and easier to staff.”

The Governor added that the new facility, which broke ground earlier this year, is the first step towards a new and improved Swanson.

“We are committed to making the changes necessary both in terms of personnel, in terms of who is leading, but also the staffing, and then the physical facility itself,” said Edwards while in Monroe on Tuesday.

The Office of Juvenile Justice expects the new facility to be completed by the end of 2022.

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