Sean C. Hamilton, Assistant Secretary
Secure care, the deep end of the juvenile justice system, is reserved for those youth deemed by a judge or by OJJ to be a risk to public safety and/or not amenable to treatment in a less restrictive setting. Secure care facilities are characterized by perimeter fences, locked units and high security. Youth are monitored constantly under direct supervision of staff, and are not allowed to come and go freely. Escapes are rare. Youth are housed in dormitories, or housing units, with populations from 8-24, with an average of 12-15 per dorm.
When a judge places a youth in state custody for secure care, he/she is placed in the appropriate secure care facility, based on location and identified needs of the youth. Every effort is made to assign youth to the facility closest to home, which meets his/her identified needs, to encourage family visits and involvement in treatment. Males and females ordered into a secure facility are admitted directly into the assigned facility.
At admission, education, medical and mental health staff interview and evaluate each youth. They conduct comprehensive assessments of his/her educational level and medical and psychological conditions.
Each youth is assigned an electronic tracking number for identification. A treatment plan is developed for each youth based on his/her needs. Parents are contacted and encouraged to participate in developing their child’s education and treatment plan. Parents may participate by telephone conference.
OJJ operates secure care facilities for males in different areas of the state:
- Bridge City Center for Youth, in Jefferson Parish, near New Orleans
- Swanson Center for Youth in Monroe
- Swanson Center for Youth at Columbia, a satellite facility to Swanson-Monroe
Each of the secure care facilities for males has programming designed to meet the youths' individual needs. Each facility has counseling and treatment programs, a short term program, and the therapeutic LAMOD program. Some facilities have specialized treatment programs for sex offending youth, violent and disruptive offenders, youth needing substance abuse treatment, and a specialized mental health treatment unit.
Each secure care facility operates a state-approved alternative school, offering regular, pre-GED and special education classes, and vocational training. Every youth in a secure program attends school on the grounds of the facility unless they have already received a high school diploma or GED. In some cases, youth who have a diploma or GED may take college courses by correspondence or at a community college.
Female youth with an order requiring placement in a secure facility are placed at Ware Youth Center in Coushatta, which contracts with OJJ to provide services. Female youth receive complete evaluations, and individual plans are developed based on their needs, with specialized services supplied by contract providers in the community.
A major component in the reform efforts in Louisiana’s juvenile justice system has been a reduction in the number of youth housed in secure care facilities, with almost 77 percent fewer today than ten years ago. Today the majority of youth in OJJ custody are now receiving services in less restrictive settings closer to their homes and within their communities. Local housing of juvenile offenders, when appropriate, offers increased opportunities for family involvement. If, however, a youth requires secure care, every effort is made to house him/her as close as possible to his/her home. Additionally, individualized treatment and educational services are provided to each youth in secure care.
State Facilities for Males Map
Bridge City Center for Youth (BCCY)
Swanson Center for Youth - Monroe (SCY)
Swanson Center for Youth - Columbia (SCYC)
GIRLS' FACILITY MAP
Ware Youth Center