City Council Wants Juveniles Moved from Prison to Youth Study Center!
New Orleans City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell introduced the resolution, stating, the removal of youth from Orleans Parish Prison is imperative. Councilman Jason Williams, along with Councilwoman Susan Guidry and Ms. Cantrell co-sponsored it.
As readers of this blog well know, the Orleans Parish Jail is under a federal consent decree for maintaining unconstitutional conditions inside the jail.
Unfortunately, the only alternative for these troubled children is to place them in the Youth Study Center, meant to hold young people awaiting trial in Juvenile Court. In Louisiana, kids as young as 14-16 can be tried as adult for all sorts of heinous crimes. However, there is little funds to increase the Study Center’s budget, though there is some space available.
The Study Center had been holding both those who were facing charges in Juvenile Court and those being tried as adults. Youth Study Center (YSC) Director Glenn Holt told the council at a meeting last night that doing just that isn’t recommended for facilities like his. Holt has been sending all teenagers who are charged as adults back to OPP. This didn’t make the council happy, as they well know just how bad conditions inside the jail remain.
Carol Kolinchak, legal director of the Children’s Rights Center, was shocked by the stories she heard from youths during a recent visit to jail. One youth told me, You’re safe at YSC. No one is safe here, she testified. Councilwoman Stacy Head had the most chilling comment- The status quo is abhorrent, she said. Our jail has the worst reputation in the world, and that’s saying something.
The Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana has mounted a campaign to close down the YSC, which has a notorious reputation for decades.
This is another bad situation being made worse since kids are involved. Is there another consent decree for the Youth Study Center? They certainly need it. Nevertheless, YSC seems to be the preferred locale for children in trouble with the law.
~ by neworleansmusicman on December 2, 2014.