Louisiana has fired 30 juvenile prison guards in response to escalating violence in two of the three state prisons for juveniles, reports The Advocate in Baton Rouge. The Office of Youth Development “voluntarily terminated” the 30 staffers during the past eight months as part of “an ongoing campaign to investigate allegations of inappropriate behavior of the staff,” wrote Simon Gonsoulin, office director. The firings are part of a larger program to reduce the number of fights and violent injuries at the Jetson Correctional Center for Youth near Zachary and the Swanson Correctional Center for Youth near Monroe.
The firings “represent a dramatic step forward by the Blanco administration, especially in comparison to the previous administration,” said David Utter of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. The project sued former Gov. Mike Foster’s administration, alleging Louisiana’s juvenile prisons fomented violence, often by staffers, that state officials were reluctant to address. As a result of that and other lawsuits, federal courts have ordered the state to improve the juvenile prisons.