BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD)— The Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice issued a public notice Friday amid high-profile incidents at its facilities. Governor John Bel Edwards dispatched State Police to assist the state-run agency two weeks ago.

The OJJ said correctional and probation and parole officers began helping OJJ staff while troopers secured facility perimeters on June 17. Additionally, Department of Corrections staff have been temporarily authorized to use interventions within OJJ’s Safe Crisis Management.

However, staff will not intervene unless requested, according to OJJ.

“We acknowledge that we’re facing some major challenges, but we are working daily to address
them for the safety of our youth, staff and the outside communities,” said OJJ Deputy Secretary Bill Sommers.

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The governor’s decision to send reinforcements followed violent incidents at facilities. On June 13, inmates allegedly assaulted multiple employees at the Swanson Correctional Center for Youth.

Three days later, 20 inmates at Bridge City Center for Youth held a riot, prompting further police intervention.

OJJ said there have been a total of 24 staff assaults combined at its facilities. Officials said they’re looking into short and long-term housing options after dorms were destroyed by inmates.

Also on Friday, a federal appeals court upheld a ruling that requires the City of New Orleans to build new facilities for people jailed with mental health and medical needs.

In January 2021, Judge Lance Africk ruled the city must build a separate mental health facility, instead of retrofitting the current detention center.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell appealed the ruling, saying the city could not afford to build a new facility.

The jail is under court oversight as part of a settlement in a 2012 lawsuit over dangerous conditions.