Police Jury holds ribbon-cutting for new Juvenile Justice Services facility
Oct 24, 2022
Calcasieu Parish Office of Juvenile Justice Services
Published 8:18 am Saturday, October 22, 2022
By Rita Lebleu
“A dream come true” is how Calcasieu Parish Office of Juvenile Justice Services (OJJS) Director Anthony Celestine described the new OJJS building at 3615 E. Prien Lake Road in Lake Charles.
“We are thrilled to have a new state-of-the-art evidence-based designed facility,” Celestine said, “a design that aligns with the services that are quality in nature and responsive to the needs of our citizens.”
The Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, along with other parish and city officials, held the official ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.
“In Calcasieu Parish we care about our youth and endeavor to do everything possible to give every young person a chance at a happy and productive life. This new, secure detention facility is a testament to that commitment,” said Police Jury President Tony Stelly.
The 50,000-square-foot, $22 million building is a secure detention facility that houses 38 beds, an on-site medical clinic, a multi-purpose space, counseling and meeting rooms, a dayroom, a dining area, a large recreation yard and spaces for vocational-technical training, education and rehabilitation services.
The new building replaces the original facility, which was built in 1968. Trahan Construction served as contractor. Champeaux, Evans and Hotard, along with Grace Hebert Curtis, were project architects.
Celestine said it will be a model for other juvenile justice facilities across the state and across the country. The OJJS has been dubbed a learning hub by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, which focuses on developing a better future for children and youth at risk of poor educational, economic, social and health outcomes.
“The staff go above and beyond, ‘’ Family and Court Judge Mitch Redd said. “They meet these children where they are and do everything they can. This week in court, I heard two juvenile probation officers talking about plans after work. One was going to pick up a child and take him to a counseling session and another was going to run by and check on a child, something he says he does whenever he can.”
Dane Bolin, assistant parish administrator, worked in the OJJS before moving into his current role. He said the design team for a new OJJS building was formed in 2012. Time was needed to “get it right” and to set aside the money to build a facility that equaled the performance and commitment of the staff and administration. “In 64 parishes there are only four that operate with probation. It houses probation staff, truancy staff, drug court staff, families in need of services, all under one roof. That’s not common practice all over the country, but it happens here,” Bolin said. “It required a lot of vision and support at all levels.”
Amy Dunn, Educational and Treatment Council, a group that partners with OJJS, said the new building exceeds expectations.
“It means so much to know that when the most troubled and challenging youth of our parish need to be detained, they will be served in a facility that is safe, secure, clean, well supervised and that they will be supported by a whole system of care that seeks to hold youth accountable for their delinquent behaviors while also being mindful of the underlying issues. Indeed, we are fortunate to be in a parish in which the juvenile justice system works to advance the health and well being of youth instead of driving them deeper into the system.”