Continues record rebuilding program
NEW ORLEANS – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City officials and community leaders broke ground on the 28-bed expansion of the Youth Study Center (YSC) located at 1100 Milton Street. Currently holding 48 beds, this $14.8 million, 22,000-square foot expansion will expand services to accommodate juvenile offenders being housed at the Orleans Justice Center.
“Since 2010, we have been committed to investing in the lives our youth. I am excited to break ground on the 28-bed expansion of the Youth Study Center and increase opportunities for our juvenile offenders, ” said Mayor Landrieu. “It is not about where you start, but it is about where you finish. We believe in making necessary changes to ensure that all youth have access to pathways to prosperity.”
Expected to be completed January 2019, this YSC expansion will also include:
- New, secondary/waiting area with group and individual visitation areas
- High-school education area with space for class room instruction, job training, arts, reading rooms and individuals instructions areas
- Teachers’ lounge and common area
- New outdoor circulation and recreation space
- Food serving and seating area adjacent to the existing kitchen to expand existing food services
Along with these additions, the new structure will be designed to accommodate an additional floor in the future, if needed.
Office of Criminal Justice Coordination Commissioner Calvin Johnson said, “The expansion of the Youth Study Center is a step in the right direction for New Orleans with our criminal justice reform efforts. I look forward to the continued success of this facility and stand inspired by the work and success to come.”
Youth Study Center Director Germaine Simon said, “The Youth Study Center is looking forward to this new expansion. This will allow us to make a lasting impact on the lives of young people. We are confident that we will continue to provide the best possible services to the incoming youth and introduce them to a positive environment.”
Travis Hill School Principal Ismael El-Shaakir said, “This addition provides students from the Orleans Justice Center, a living and learning environment designed specifically for children. The faculty and staff of the Travis Hill School look forward to providing these students with an educational experience they need to become positive, contributing members of our community when they are released."
Capital Projects Administration Director Vincent Smith said, “We are excited to break ground on this expansion to increase services and opportunities for the youth of New Orleans. We look forward to the great work that will come from this investment.”
Pilotland Neighborhood Association Reverend Lionel Davis said, “The Juvenile Justice Complex was a wonderful opportunity for our community to embrace a single facility that provided wrap around services, and addressed every area of the needs of youth and families. This holistic approach puts every help option in one site. It brought resources to the youth for better results. The one stop idea keeps our troubled young people out of otherwise adult facilities, and gives families an opportunity to be a part of their loved ones success story. This extension will connect reality to resources for positive results”.
Funding for the project comes from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recovery dollars and City bonds. It was designed by Nano, LLC and will be constructed by Landis, LLC.
Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office Interim Compliance Director Darnley Hodge said, “The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office is awaiting the addition of 28 beds to the Youth Study Center. This expansion paves the way for the orderly transfer of youthful offenders from the Orleans Justice Center to the Youth Study Center.”
District A Councilmember Susan Guidry said, “I’m truly excited about today’s groundbreaking, which marks the progress New Orleans is making in juvenile justice reform. The Youth Study Center expansion will create the room needed to implement the state Raise The Age Act, ensuring that within the criminal justice system we treat 17-year-olds as the minors that they are. The expanded YSC will be able to house these youth, as well as all children charged as adults and detained pre-trial, rather than confining them to adult facilities that are not age-appropriate or conducive to children’s rehabilitation. I am very proud of my work to change local and state law to permit these children to be housed in a juvenile pre-trial detention facility.”
District D Councilmember Jared Brossett said, “The expansion of the Youth Study Center will provide additional space and enhanced access to services for juveniles in the criminal justice system. Importantly, it will also pursue compliance with the Orleans Parish Prison consent decree by reducing the need to detain juveniles within the adult prison and placing them in an environment more conducive to positive outcomes.”
Opened April 2014, the state-of-the-art, $31.6 million Youth Study Center serves as the City’s holding facility for pre-adjudicated youth and is designed to provide all staff, visitors and detained youth with a safe environment that prioritizes the particular needs of youth. The facility includes individual rooms for sleeping, new security system, access to classroom-based education, access to recreation and family visits, and access to quality medical care, including mental health.
At the Youth Study Center, youth receive round-the-clock care and access to individualized counseling services. It includes wrap around services to put our justice-involved youth back on a pathway to prosperity.