BATON ROUGE, La., Jan. 27 (UPI) -- Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco is taking direct control of the state's troubled juvenile corrections system.
Blanco announced Monday she would soon name her own director to run juvenile corrections, the Baton Rouge Advocate reported. She ordered Corrections Secretary Richard Stalder to install a firewall between adult and juvenile divisions of his agency.
"I think that we're on the way to change Louisiana's culture for our children," the new governor said. "I realize, though, that this is just a first step."
Blanco said she has not made a decision on Stalder's future as corrections chief in her administration.
The Juvenile Justice Implementation Commission urged the governor two weeks ago to make the move as a first step in the possible creation a new state agency for juveniles.
Louisiana has reduced by half the number of juveniles at its four prisons from 1,474 in June 2001 to 735 juveniles as of last month, but there has been pressure for the last four years to put more youth offenders in community-based programs focused on rehabilitation.