BRIDGE CITY, La. — State Senator Pat Connick says he will ask the governor and state legislature to shut down the troubled Bridge City Youth Center that has been the scene of several escapes and Thursday night had a two-hour takeover by youth offenders until the Jefferson Parish.
Connick said that it is unlikely the center could be shut down quickly and he is asking for additional staffing until that can happen.
Thursday night just before 10 p.m., the sheriff’s office said approximately 20 youth offenders got out of their housing areas and took over the facility before SWAT and JPSO deputies were able to regain control. One justice center employee and two youth offenders were injured and taken to the hospital. There was no word on their immediate conditions.
The uprising came less than 24 hours after five youth offenders escaped Thursday morning.
“Last night was the tipping point,” Connick said, while describing Thursday night’s incident as a riot. “Get some staffing in there. It’s because of a lack of staffing this was allowed last night.”
Though it is a youth center, Connick said seven of those involved in Thursday night’s uprising were 19 years old. He said the building was originally built as a girls’ home and is not designed for the offenders inside, who he described as “the worst of the worst,” describing the offenders as people accused of carjackings, kidnappings and rapes.
He said that in addition to being a danger to the surrounding neighborhood, that having 12-year-olds living with 19-year-olds is a bad situation for all involved.
“We need to shut down this facility and get these juveniles out of this neighborhood,” he said. “The facility is not designed to house violent inmates. The kids now know how to escape. They’re clever and cause chaos.”