BRIDGE CITY, La. — Five juvenile offenders are now in custody after the latest jail break from the Bridge City Center for Youth in Jefferson Parish.
The five youths escaped after reportedly cutting a hole in a bathroom ceiling and took off around 2:30 a.m. on Thursday. Three of the teens were immediately captured, with a fourth taken into custody hours later. On Friday, the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice said that the fifth escapee was apprehended.
Louisiana State Sen. Pat Connick, R-Marrero, said the escape was caused by a staffing issue.
"Someone was not paying attention. They got out of the gate, got out of the facility."
Terence Feazell can see the juvenile jail from his backyard. His security cameras captured some of the teens running through his yard.
“My neighbor called me about 5, this morning and said that his cameras went off because the dog was barking and he said he saw three kids run through his yard,” Feazell said. “I went and checked my cameras and low in behold, I saw two come walking through my yard.”
Feazell believes they are the five inmates who escaped.
“They pulled on a couple of car doors, and they went on down the street, dressed in their little uniforms, white t-shirt, black shorts,” he said. “I knew that’s where they had came from.”
At least 20 inmates have escaped from the juvenile facility in just over a year. In April, a 19-year-old broke out after beating a guard and locking her in a bathroom. A month earlier, five teenagers escaped through the attic.
Hours after the escape, about 20 youths took over several of the areas inside the facility on Thursday night before a Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office SWAT team was able to regain control. A spokesperson for the JPSO said that two youths and one staff member were injured in the uprising and require medical attention. The OJJ said one youth was treated and was later released. The staff member suffered a minor injury.
Jefferson Parish Councilman Deano Bonano says he frustrated and concerned.
“Keep in mind these aren’t just juvenile offenders, these are violent juvenile offenders, armed robbers, murderers, rapists and this facility is a minimum-security facility,” Bonano said. “It wasn’t designed for this.”
Local leaders and neighbors say the state needs to close the Bridge City facility.
“The facility is not designed to house inmates like these kids,” Connick said. “It needs to be shut down.”
“I don’t know what has to happen for them to get this together,” Feazell said. “If they can’t fix it, you know, close the place out.”
After the April escape, the Office of Juvenile Justice was supposed to install a high-tech motion detection system along the perimeter of the jail. The system is supposed to notify guards if someone escapes. It is unclear if the system was working on Thursday.