NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The Juvenile Justice Intervention Center has dealt with overcrowding in the past, but today, facility director Dr. Keyshun Webster says, that isn’t the case.
“We are communicating to make sure there’s a speedy process, so that’s helped us to be more proactive with managing the population, which once before we had to transfer youth when we would get overcrowded,” Dr. Webster said.
Right now, Dr. Webster says there are 30 accused juvenile offenders at the facility and the city is hoping to reduce the population even further.
He believes a new ‘In Home Intense Supervision’ program will help to make that happen.
“It’s an opportunity for us to work with families and really get to the root cause issues of what gets kids here in the beginning and really have our eyes on them. We’ll engage those families for 5 or 6 times throughout the week,” Dr. Webster said.
Dr. Webster says the program is for non-violent juvenile offenders. He says a judge will have the option of placing those juveniles in the supervision program, instead of the juvenile detention center.
“Ya know, we’re not in the business of trying to incarcerate ourselves here in this community. We really are looking at ways to intervene,” Dr. Webster said.
Three caseworkers, called ‘Juvenile Re-entry Specialists’ were hired and Dr. Webster says they’re training to supervise about 5 juveniles each.
“And those personnel are tasked with the goal of understanding how we keep kids out of the facility, how we connect them to wrap around services and pro-social behaviors with the goal of reducing recidivism,” Dr. Webster said.
The specialists will have the power to intervene and become an enforcer for the court. He says they’ll also become a liaison with the court, helping to facilitate exactly what’s needed to help the at-risk juveniles.
The city says the idea is to reduce the juvenile detention population while preventing the teen from coming back into the system.