Administration

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In 1944, the first juvenile probation officer was hired for Calcasieu Parish. All legal matters pertaining to juveniles were conducted at the courthouse in Lake Charles. Judge Jack Watson was the first judge appointed to handle the juvenile proceedings. An excerpt from Judge Watson's letter to the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury expressed concern for juveniles, stating “No child shall be confined in any police station, prison, or jail or be transported or detained in association with a criminal, vicious or desolate person; except that a child 15 years of age or older may be placed in a jail or other place of detention for adults, but in a room or ward entirely separate from adults.”

In 1955, the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, civic clubs and various organizations requested a survey by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency to study the “needs of children in trouble.” As a result, in 1969 the Calcasieu Parish Juvenile Detention Center began operation.

In 1999, the Office of Juvenile Justice Services was reorganized to create four departments with designated department directors, working under the Director of the Office of Juvenile Justice Services and functioning as the Management Team. While each department has specific responsibilities and roles, the departments are interdependent and work closely together to achieve a continuum of services for juveniles and families. The established structure, which includes Programs, Detention, Probation, and MARC under the umbrella of the Office of Juvenile Justice Services, assures continuity of services and consistency of philosophy in carrying out the balanced approach to juvenile justice.