Move of juvenile offenders to Jetson, Angola causes concern for activists

Young offenders from the Bridge City Detention Center could soon find themselves locked up at Jenson correctional or Angola state prison.
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 4:52 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Young offenders from the Bridge City Detention Center could soon find themselves locked up at Jetson Correctional or Angola State Prison.

The move has activists like Gina Womack outraged.

“The system has continued to fail our young people and by not actually providing the support and services that evidence says that they need,” Womack said.

On Tuesday, August 9, folks from the group Friends and Families of Incarcerated Children voiced their concerns, worried children could be housed too close to adult offenders.

According to the Office of Juvenile Justice, juvenile offenders moved to Angola would be in a separate building.

“It’s the old reception center that will be totally refurbished that we’re doing now. It’s 1.5 miles from the nearest adult unit.,” said one official.

But, Womack said these children need education, rehab and resources.

“It’s not the point that children shouldn’t be sent there in the first place. Again, we’ve been working on support and regionalization and therapeutic services for the last 20 years,” Womack said.

So far, only one person has been moved out of Bridge City, but some folks think the plans need to be put on hold.

“I think one we need to put a pause. Let’s not just have a plan and say we’re going to move them to Angola, right? If problems truly exist at Bridge City, then let’s sit down and have a conversation,” said Power Coalition member Geno McLaughlin.

The DOC said the plans are still in the works.

“But we’ve not moved, not one youth to a temporary facility like we’re talking about, and when we look at this, and it is a temporary facility, and I can’t say that enough, and it is fluid, the whole process is a fluid situation.”

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