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Around 20 inmates at a Louisiana juvenile detention center reportedly broke loose inside the perimeter of the facility Thursday night, prompting a SWAT response, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said.
The inmates had tried to take over the facility. Authorities told WDSU-TV that an employee and two juvenile inmates were injured and had to be taken to an area hospital.
The incident is only the latest breach at the troubled facility and comes just hours after five inmates escaped early Thursday morning through a hole in a bathroom ceiling – one of whom was still at large as of early Friday.
Bridge City is in the New Orleans metropolitan area.
“There was a staffing issue,” State Senator Pat Connick, R-Marrero, told WWL-TV. “Someone was not paying attention. They got out of the gate, got out of the facility.”
He said the facility should be shut down.
“The facility is not designed to house inmates like these kids,” he said.
Before that breakout more than a dozen inmates had temporarily escaped from the facility since April 2021, including a 19-year-old who beat a female guard and locked her in a bathroom according to WWL.
“Keep in mind these aren’t just juvenile offenders, these are violent juvenile offenders: armed robbers, murderers, rapists and this facility is a minimum-security facility,” Jefferson Parish Councilman Deano Bonano said Thursday morning. “It wasn’t designed for this.”
Connick said Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, “knows that this is a problem. Staffing is a major problem. The parole officers I understand are being brought into the jail to guard the inmates instead of being on the streets doing their work as parole officers.”