Calcasieu to house Beauregard juvenile offenders

November 17, 2010 at 3:01 am

In reaching a formal agreement to house Beauregard Parish juvenile offenders, Calcasieu Parish officials said key reforms have allowed them to help out a neighbor.

“Back in 2003, we had an average of 30 of our 38 beds full on a regular basis,” said Dane Bolin, director of Calcasieu Parish Juvenile Justice Services. “Our latest numbers have us averaging 17 kids a day.”

Bolin said Calcasieu had housed Beauregard juvenile offenders before, but that with this formal agreement Calcasieu Parish will “be their first option, and only if they have bed space.”

He said Beauregard officials will have to adhere to Calcasieu Parish admission standards. All juvenile offenders are screened, with mostly violent offenders being admitted.

“Many years ago, and still in some centers today, if a child is picked up for shoplifting, (he or she) might be placed in a detention center with a violent felon,” Bolin said.

“We focus on putting kids with the right resources, and sometimes that is detention. But we make sure not to mix low-risk kids with high-risk kids.”

In Calcasieu Parish, options include electronic monitoring, home detention and the evening reporting center.

Young violators report to or are taken to the center after school; there they can do homework and get needed treatment. They are taken home at 9 p.m.

“We work hard to keep the kids who shouldn’t be here at home, and that’s how our numbers stay low,” Bolin said.

He said housing juveniles out of parish is common because there are 17 centers across the state, which has 64 parishes.

“It really wouldn’t be cost efficient for each parish to have its own detention center,” Bolin said. “So it’s a pretty tight-knit group, and you help each other out when you can.”

The Beauregard Police Jury will pay Calcasieu the state rate of $105 per day per juvenile. On average, juveniles from out of parish stay less than a week.

“It’s not a big moneymaker, but it offsets all costs and does not cut into services for our kids,” Bolin said.

He said he conducted training classes for Beauregard Parish law enforcers to explain how juveniles who committed certain crimes are handled based on reforms Calcasieu Parish has put in place.

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