NEW ORLEANS — Editors Note: WWL-TV originally reported that the judges were considering releasing some juvenile inmates accused of lesser crimes, but Chief Judge Ranord Darensburg clarified that early releases have not been considered yet.
There is a crisis in the state teen prison system.
Last week, the state Office of Juvenile Justice put juvenile court judges on notice, it doesn’t have room to house any new inmates.
With the state no longer picking up offenders from the Juvenile Justice Intervention Center, the teen prison in New Orleans is already feeling the pinch.
Monday — District D City Councilman Eugene Green attended a meeting with juvenile court judges to discuss the types of things they need to make sure the public and offenders are kept safe.
They are asking for money to restart an electronic monitoring program.
The city’s ankle bracelet program for juvenile offenders was phased out four years ago because of lack of supervision and monitoring.
“Each of the judges is on notice that the public won’t tolerate and should not tolerate increased threats to the public based on the fact of releasing or not incarcerating someone who really needs it,” Green said.
According to Green, the judges may also increase the capacity at the JJIC.
Something Chief Judge Ranord Darensburg talked about at a budget hearing last week.
“What is going to happen is that there will be nowhere to send youth that have been arrested in the city of New Orleans,” Darensburg said. “What we’re faced with is a situation where we’re either going to have youth that have to be released into the community where we believe should be detained or we’re going to have a situation where we’ll have overcrowding in the Juvenile Justice Intervention Center.”
According to Councilman Green, the city council will likely vote to amend the juvenile court’s budget request for next year to help pay for the emergency programs.
The council must pass a new budget by Dec. 1.