Youth Empowerment Project no longer involved in city’s Evening Reporting Center

Youth Empowerment Project no longer involved in city’s Evening Reporting Center

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - With a juvenile crime problem escalating across New Orleans, Mayor Latoya Cantrell said one way to effectively stop it would be to create Evening Reporting Centers.

“It’s a cooperative agreement over a five year period with the Youth Empowerment Project for this engagement and resource center which will be a court mandated center,” says Mayor Cantrell.

The city said the non-profit organization, Youth Empowerment Project would run the centers, which would provide homework help, meals and mental health services to youth offenders.

Today, though, the Youth Empowerment Project told FOX 8, YEP will not be running Evening Reporting Centers for the city.

The program’s communications director said, “YEP’s priority is to ensure that we provide the highest quality programming to the more than 1,200 individuals we currently serve annually.”

The city’s Criminal Justice Commissioner, Tenisha Stevens, says “we’re committed to moving the centers forward and are actively working to identify and contract with a provider.”

She says, “Much of the groundwork for the ERC has already been laid out, and it will launch as soon as practicable.”

Still, the city has released very little information about the centers to the public.

FOX 8 obtained the city’s draft report about the Evening Reporting Centers and it states, ‘juveniles arrested for a crime of violence will not be eligible for the program and each center will only have the capacity for 15 juvenile at one time.’

The young offenders will be required to attend the centers from 4 till 8 o’clock at night. Again, it’s a draft report and we do not know where the centers will be or when they’ll be up and running.

“It doesn’t replace what we’ve been advocating for which is electronic monitoring. Violent offenders are excluded from this {Evening Reporting Centers}, but violent offenders get released as juvenile offenders frequently, but if you are going to release them on the honor system you want to make sure that you are reducing those offenders from re-offending,” says Rafael Goyeneche.

Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission believes the reporting centers are a good tool, but he says electronic monitoring would be much more effective.

“Because these centers would only be open from 4 till 8, so what’s happening after 8 o’clock when the kids are supposed to be in their house but they’re sneaking out of the back door and some are getting into violent crimes or other felony offenses,” says Goyeneche.

Goyeneche believes a law enforcement agency should run the electronic monitoring program instead of a private company because he says it’s about public safety.

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