Second juvenile in two weeks makes brief escape from EBR juvenile centers _lowres

Advocate file photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON A 16-year-old youth escaped Thursday morning from the East Baton Rouge Juvenile Services Department on Veterans Boulevard, making it the second escape attempt in as many weeks. On both escape attempts, the juveniles were caught 20 minutes after they escaped, officials said.

The second escape in two weeks from the East Baton Rouge Parish Juvenile Detention Center occurred Thursday morning. Both times, authorities apprehended the escapees in less than 20 minutes.

The latest escape happened just before 9 a.m. Thursday while some of the juveniles were outside for recreation. A 16-year-old boy scaled a fence roughly 12 feet high, topped with barbed wire and razor wire, and ran free for about 10 minutes before being apprehended about 150 yards from the detention center, said Deron Patin, interim director of the parish’s Department of Juvenile Services.

Patin said Baton Rouge police assisted the detention center’s staff in apprehending the youth in a neighborhood near the center, which is across Veterans Memorial Boulevard from the Metro Airport in north Baton Rouge.

The youth was safely returned to the detention center following the brief escape, Patin said.

The escape marked the second time in two weeks a juvenile broke free from the facility.

In the previous instance, which occurred on Aug. 6, a boy escaped in a similar manner and was out for about 20 minutes before authorities nabbed him about 100 yards from the facility, Patin said.

The interim director said the assistance provided by the police during the apprehension of both boys was invaluable.

Patin said by law, he cannot release the details surrounding the reasons why each juvenile who escaped was being housed at the detention center.

Before two weeks ago, the last time a youth escaped from the center was in 2010, Patin said.

Juvenile services officials are exploring whether changes need to be made at the facility to improve security, he said.

“Ultimately, it’s our responsibility to keep the kids here,” Patin said, “so we want to make sure that all of our fencing and security measures are appropriate for the youth we’re working with.”

He said the youth who escaped Thursday was not injured during his escape or apprehension, in spite of the barbed wire and razor wire atop the perimeter fence surrounding the detention center.

“It’s a miracle” the youth wasn’t hurt, Patin said.

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