BRIDGE CITY, La. — The first wave of juvenile offenders has now left the Bridge City Center for Youth.
Sen. Pat Connick, R-Marrero, whose district includes the juvenile jail, said ten inmates were transferred to a new temporary juvenile facility at Angola at 5:45 a.m. Tuesday.
“This morning the Office of Juvenile Justice transferred several high-risk juveniles from the Bridge City youth center to Angola,” Connick said. “This is good news for the Bridge City community and hopefully it will give those juveniles who want to change their lives a chance to do so.”
Senator Connick says the Bridge City Center for Youth is not capable of housing such violent offenders.
“This facility was not designed to house these types of juveniles. It is also, I think, going to be good for the juveniles who are transferred out. This is going to be a wake-up call for them,” said Connick.
Governor John Bel Edwards previously announced a plan to move about two dozen young inmates, about half the prison population, to a building on the grounds of the Louisiana State Penitentiary.
That announcement came after a recent spate of violence at the facility on the west bank of Jefferson Parish. It has seen more than two dozen detainees escape since April 2021. In July, an escapee was accused of carjacking and shooting a man in Uptown New Orleans. He was eventually chased down and caught after crashing a stolen vehicle.
According to the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice, the temporary facility at Angola will be used to rehabilitate youth who identify as needing intensive therapeutic services.
Activists, families of the incarcerated teenagers, and attorneys sued the state claiming the trauma of being housed at one of the nation's toughest prisons would be irreversible.
In her 64-page ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Shelly Dick in Baton Rouge said that "while locking children in cells at night at Angola is untenable, the threat of harm the youngsters present to themselves, and others, is intolerable. The untenable must yield to the intolerable."
That cleared the way for the prison transfer.
Connick said the Angola facility is ready and OJJ has worked hard to make it safe for the juvenile inmates in full compliance with the federal judge’s orders.
► Get breaking news from your neighborhood delivered directly to you by downloading the new FREE WWL-TV News app now in the IOS App Store or Google Play.