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Control restored after youths take over detention center

June 17, 2022 GMT

BRIDGE CITY, La. (AP) — Control has been restored at a Louisiana juvenile detention center where a group of inmates sparked a riot after breaking out of their living areas and taking over parts of the building.

Deputies were called to the Bridge City Center for Youth just before 10 p.m. Thursday after about 20 youths escaped their quarters, news outlets reported. Two inmates and an employee were injured. The extent of their injuries was not released.

The juvenile detention center was back under control as of midnight after a two-hour standoff, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Jason Rivarde. Deputies, canines and the SWAT team were called to restore order at the facility.

“It takes a lot of personnel to come here and secure a facility of this size,” Rivarde said. “It’s what we have to do because of the problems we are having here.”

No one escaped the facility’s grounds during Thursday night’s uprising.

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The sheriff’s office said an investigation in underway to determine what started the uprising.

The uprising came the same day that five juveniles escaped early Thursday through a hole they cut in a bathroom ceiling. Three were immediately captured, with a fourth arrested hours later. On Friday, the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice said that the fifth escapee was apprehended.

There was no word on whether the two incidents are connected.

The recent chaos at the juvenile detention center drew sharp criticism from Jefferson Parish elected officials.

“The (Office of Juvenile Justice administration) is aware this is happening,” state Sen. Pat Connick said after Thursday’s escape but before the takeover.

Connick said the state promises to improve things, “but nothing gets done.”

“It’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt,” he said.

Friday morning, Connick told WWL-TV that the takeover was a tipping point and described it as a riot. He said he will ask the governor and state legislature to shut down the facility.