NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Mayor Latoya Cantrell and other city leaders are working to find solutions to the city’s growing juvenile crime problem, including the juvenile court judges’ decision to detain all arrested juveniles that pose a safety risk to the public until a judge can see them.
However, this move is raising concern of overcrowding at the Youth Study Center.
“With the police in place at Juvenile Court, it will put an added strain on the Youth Study Center should there be arrests made,” Cantrell said.
In April, the State Department of Children and Family Services cited the Youth Study Center for overcrowding when 50 juveniles were housed in the 48 bed facility. Cantrell said the situation is constantly being monitored.
“It’s something that we are looking at everyday, and every hour,” she said.
Now, the mayor is calling on all agencies to play a role, including the quick transfer of juveniles being tried as adults to other facilities. Several juveniles have already been transferred to the adult jail so far this year.
“We’ve had to implement our transfer policy, and even strengthen that policy, to make sure all of us are on the same page,” Cantrell said.
Blake Arcuri, Attorney for the Sheriff’s Office, pointed out that a criminal court judge must sign off on the transfer of a juvenile to the adult jail.
“The law requires that any of those juvenile offenders that come to our facility, which is an adult facility, the court with jurisdiction over those juveniles have to issue a court order for that to happen,” Arcuri said.
Arcuri said the youth pod of the Orleans Justice Center can house up to 30 male juveniles. Right now, he said 17 juveniles are housed at the adult jail, leaving space for only 13 more.
A law enforcement source told FOX 8, there are eight juveniles currently housed at the Youth Study Center who are being tried as adults. Those eight are the only juveniles who currently would be eligible to be transferred to the adult jail.
“Hopefully, we have parents and young people follow the rules and it will not have to come to that, but we have to put these safe guards in place as we implement policies and support elected officials who have a hand in how our system operates,” Cantrell said.