- Associated Press - Friday, August 8, 2014

BUNKIE, La. (AP) - Louisiana is starting construction this month on a $19 million juvenile detention facility in Bunkie.

The Acadiana Center for Youth will be the state’s first secure facility built to focus on therapy and counseling, rather than on functioning as a prison.

The Office of Juvenile Justice broke ground Thursday on the Avoyelles Parish facility.

The detention center will use a therapeutic treatment model that has been put in place at all of Louisiana’s youth prisons.

The model emphasizes counseling and teaching social skills and problem-solving techniques. Youth are housed in small groups, rather than large dorms for more intensive treatment.

When completed, OJJ says the Acadiana Center for Youth will house up to 72 juvenile offenders from south and central Louisiana. Construction is expected to take up to two years.

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