Juvenile Criminal Program Changes

The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office has undergone a lot of developments and improvements over the last year.  There are new facilities and new programs.  One arm of that is the Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC). JAC is not a new program, but the data collected over the last year is new.

It’s the first time numbers have been collected which shows what’s working and what’s not. Kennis Metoyer, JAC Administrator, says he’s happy with the numbers.

“(There’s been) over 700 arrests. Of those arrests, 600 of those kids come through the assessment center,” said Metoyer. “And of those kids, we’ve had over 400, 420, 430 accept the diversion, which allows them to not get involved with delinquency and into the criminal justice system.”

Using counseling, drug testing and parent meetings, teens have an opportunity to be on the fast track through the criminal justice system. It’s all about steering teens in the right direction and giving them a second chance. Those going through the program are mostly 14-and15-year-olds.

“I think the biggest thing that sets us apart, besides the fact this has never been done in Lafayette, is the fact that when they come through the door, we’re not judging anybody,” said Metoyer.

“We get a lot of calls as a Sheriff’s Office about, ‘Hey Johnny or Suzie has difficulty. What can we do?’” said Director of Corrections, Rob Reardon.

Reardon says while this new data doesn’t set anything in stone, it’s a starting point that will be very useful later down the road.

“This will allow us over the course of several years to collect information and be able to provide services for this particular population,” said Reardon.

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