BATON ROUGE – Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco issued the following statement today regarding the current developments regarding Mychal Bell:
“I have learned Mychal Bell has been placed in custody of the Office of Youth Development following yesterday’s hearing in juvenile court in Jena. He is not in the same adult facility where he was previously incarcerated, and instead is currently housed at a juvenile facility. OYD is following its customary procedures with Bell, as it would with any youth committed to its custody by a court. OYD will approach the court with its recommendations for placement and service next week. OYD’s goal is to recommend services in the most appropriate and least restrictive placement for all youth. As with all cases, this recommendation will be based on a standard risk assessment tool that looks at a youth’s history, including behavior, school record, family history, any previous offenses and what type, and whether the youth presents a risk to the public. It will also include pertinent records and a psychological evaluation.
“Let me say once again that as Governor, as a mother and as a citizen, I condemn racism in any form, and the people of Louisiana join me in respecting and promoting the rights of all our citizens. My administration has worked hard to reform our juvenile justice system, and changes I have implemented through OYD have made us a national model for reform. I believe OYD will handle this matter in a fair and appropriate manner.”