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Tallulah Timeline

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1994

February -- Tallulah signs an agreement with the state of Louisiana to build and run a prison. The town contracts the construction and operation of the facility to Trans-American Development Associates.

Nov. 18 -- The 700-bed Tallulah Correctional Center for Youth opens. The privately run facility joins state-run juvenile facilities in Baton Rouge, Bridge City and Monroe.

Dec. 22 -- Staff has been having difficulties controlling youth. State deems it an emergency situation and sends in a management team to run the prison.

1995

October -- Following a two-month investigation, Human Rights Watch issues the 139-page report Children in Confinement in Louisiana. Investigators are particularly disturbed by the ongoing physicial abuse of inmates.

1996

June -- After receiving complaints about Louisiana's juvenile facilities, the United States Department of Justice begins an investigation, conducted under the 1980 Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA).

August -- The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections implements Project Zero Tolerance (PZT), establishing a system of reporting and examining allegations of abuse. In a report issued a year later, Tallulah racks up 48 percent of the alleged staff-on-offender violations -- 134 allegations total.

1997

June 17 -- Court-appointed prison expert John Whitley criticizes Tallulah for its inexperienced staff and poorly maintained facility. In response, the state sends in another management team.

June 24 -- A 22-page report released by the U.S. Department of Justice says that Louisiana's juvenile facilities are run by undertrained staff and finds "life-threatening staff abuse and juvenile-on-juvenile violence at each of the facilities."

1998

June 18 -- The U.S. Department of Justice charges that Tallulah Correctional Center for Youth fails to protect its juvenile inmates from

physical abuse and does not provide adequate mental health, medical, or educational services. During the first 27 days of May alone, the DOJ reports, at least 17 juveniles required hospital care for traumatic injuries.

July 1 -- A group of mental health advocates tour Tallulah, along with U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) and a dozen reporters. Kids in the cafeteria yell out: "Please take over. Please, we beg you, take over."

July 9 -- Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana files a civil-rights lawsuit on behalf of 12 youth incarcerated at Tallulah.

Late July -- For the second time, the state steps in to take over Tallulah.

Aug. 27 -- A report notes that since the state took control at Tallulah, 39 staff members have been fired, 27 have resigned, and six have been demoted -- all in an effort to help Tallulah operate "in a more stable, professional manner."

Nov. 5 -- The Department of Justice sues the state of Louisiana, alleging that the state's 1,750 incarcerated youths are at a substantial risk of harm due to unacceptable levels of violence from juvenile-on-juvenile assaults and excessive force and abuse from staff.

1999

Mid-September --To protest their pay of $6 per hour, 18 Tallulah guards walk away from a group of 200 inmates they are escorting from one building to another.

Sept. 21 --The Department of Public Safety & Corrections announces it is assuming "operational control" of the Tallulah Correctional Center for Youth. It will be run as a satellite of the Swanson Correctional Center for Youth at nearby Monroe.

2000

September -- Settlement is reached between the Department of Justice, the state of Louisiana, and other parties who have sued over inadequate prison conditions. Terms of the 170-page settlement agreement spell out improvements to be made at all juvenile facilities in the state.

2001

May -- A 17-year-old young man from New Orleans has his jaw broken while at Tallulah. A hearing is currently underway to determine who is at fault.

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