NEW ORLEANS—Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu along with Orleans Parish School Board Superintendent Henderson Lewis and Youth Study Center officials hosted a dedication ceremony for the Travis Hill School (1100 Milton St.) housed in the Youth Study Center (YSC) – New Orleans’ Juvenile Detention Center.
“The Youth Study Center’s Travis Hill School is a unique place that has real opportunity to affect change in the lives of New Orleans’ youth.” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “The City of New Orleans has worked hard to create reforms to make this facility a place that can transform the lives of youth. We are proud of the advances the YSC has made and look forward to the continued success of the school.”
The Travis Hill School houses approximately 48 students facing juvenile and adult charges daily. The students who attend Travis Hill earn credits toward their high school diploma, and those credits can be transferred to another school upon their release from the Youth Study Center.
The Travis Hill School’s focus is on creating principles that support students and prepare them for their return home. The school works to provide a safe learning environment for students to develop academic skills, creative talents, and mindsets necessary to transform their lives and become productive citizens.
“We are very proud of the extraordinary work taking place at the Travis Hill School,” said OPSB Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. “I am grateful to see this academic program transforming the lives of our court-involved youth.”
The school is named in honor of New Orleans native and musician Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill. Hill spent some time in the Juvenile Detention Center followed by nine years in prison. After being released, he became a renowned trumpet player promoting peace and violence prevention. He played across the United States and internationally before passing away in Tokyo, Japan in 2015.
“I am excited to have a school named after Travis,” said Dorothy Hill Martin, mother of Travis Hill. “He was an inspiration to many while he lived and was committed to our city and our city’s youth. I am hopeful that he can continue providing motivation to young people who pass through the Youth Study Center and the school that now bears his name.”
New Orleans Youth Study Center
The City opened the new Youth Study Center facility in the spring of 2014. Under Mayor Landrieu’s leadership, conditions of detained youth have dramatically improved.
The New Orleans Youth Study Center is a holding facility for pre-adjudicated youth and is designed to provide all staff, visitors and detained youth with a safe environment that prioritizes the particular needs of youth. All youth at the New Orleans Youth Study Center have rooms for sleeping, access to classroom-based education, access to recreation and family visits as well as access to quality medical care, including mental health.
Beginning in December 2014, the City began a pilot program at the New Orleans Youth Study Center where 12 beds were set aside for youth transferred from Orleans Parish Prison. This program has been successful. The City is committed to allocating additional funding to house all minors under 18. The Youth Study Center is in design phase and is slated to be completed in 2018.
Youth Study Center Consent Decree
In 2007, the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana brought federal class action against the City alleging deprivation of constitutional rights due to the conditions of confinement from a physical and programmatic perspective. In February 2010, the City agreed to come into compliance with a number of reforms at the temporary Youth Study Center including: policies and procedures revisions, staff training procedures, governance structure reforms, inclusion of professional services including social workers, recreational specialists and capacity limits. A Court Monitor was appointed to ensure compliance with the terms of the settlement.
In January 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle of the Eastern District of Louisiana certified that the City is in compliance and has met and sustained all of the reforms and changes agreed to by the Consent Decree. In 2013, the City broke ground on the New Orleans Juvenile Justice Center. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Mayor Landrieu announced that the City of New Orleans had met the terms of the Federal Consent Decree concerning structural and operational conditions at the temporary Youth Study Center.