There’s a new administrator running the Lafayette Parish Juvenile Detention Home (JDH). A facility that once saw a high staff turnover rate and threats of job cuts. The new man in charge says those days are over. In fact, he shares a plan he hopes will put all concerns to rest.
Mike Mouton is no newcomer to the field of corrections. 30 years ago, Mouton was the warden for the Lafayette Parish Jail. In fact, he says he opened the one that currently sits downtown and under his watch it became the first in Louisiana to be Nationally Accredited. “From that several other state jails including Angola got accredited. I was on that committee to accredit Angola,” says Mouton.
National Accreditation is what Mouton plans to do at JDH. National Accreditation will require the home to meet standards respected nationwide and by the court system. “If you’re Nationally Accredited, you keep files on everything you do; from the smallest thing, to how many forks you give the kids, and to the dietician that we have on staff here,” explains Mouton.
But before that can happen Mouton must know that he has highly trained staff in place and encourage outstanding existing workers to stay.” Once they reach that goal coupled with their longevity then they get raises; according to what they know, they’ve been taught and how they practice when they’re here.”
Mouton says the LCG Council approved funding an Apprenticeship Program with millage. “I always tell staff that if you like juvenile and decide to move; and there’s another juvenile facility that you want to put an application for and the one you came from is Nationally Accredited it’s going to put you at the top of the list.”
Lastly, Mouton says he will not overcrowd the center with kids from neighboring parishes. He’s willing to help other municipalities when he can, but not at the expense of his own. “You’re only supposed to be watching 8 kids and we’re telling you that you got to watch 25. No! That’s when problems happen and things go awry,” states Mouton.