Primary Contact Name: Gina Womack
The Southern Poverty Law Center's Louisiana office is dedicated to fighting hate and seeking justice throughout the state.
Louisiana Center for Children's Rights is a network of organizations and individuals who support a legislative and policy agenda for common-sense juvenile justice reform that will curb crime, use taxpayer resources responsibly, and get better outcomes for children.
Bill Number: SB 324 - WIN!
Type of Reform
Raise the Age Reform - Raise the age from 17 to 18. Development of alternative programs by a council created by the bill. Children aer not automatically held in adult jail no matter the crime.
Bill Number: SB 303
Type of Reform
Education in Juvenile Justice Settings Reform - Educational Accountability and Rehabilitation act requires an accountability program for JJ schools. Tracking passage rates, progress, post release success, etc of students adn schools. Essentially places JJ schools under the same reporting and achievement requirements as all other schools.
Bill number: HCR 73 - WIN!
Type of Reform
Raise the Age study - requests Institute on Public Health and Justice to study raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction to 17.
Raise the Age LA Becomes Law!
On Tuesday, June 14, 2016 Governor John Bel Edwards signed into law a major reform measure that will include 17-year-olds in the juvenile justice system. The Raise the Age Louisiana Act (SB 324) brings Louisiana into step with the vast majority of states that set the age of criminal jurisdiction at 18. The bill is part of a package of juvenile justice reforms that were overwhelmingly approved by the legislature.
More Harm than Good: How Children are Unjustly Tried as Adults in New Orleans
The Orleans Parish district attorney is prosecuting children as adults in unprecedented numbers.
Although nothing in the law requires Louisiana prosecutors to charge children as adults, District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro chooses to transfer children to adult court in almost every possible instance. He transfers children who have no prior delinquency record or played a minor role in the alleged crime. He transfers children who have a mental illness or developmental disability. He even transfers children accused of nonviolent offenses. Some of the children he transfers are found innocent of any crime – but only after enduring the stress and danger of the adult system.
Prosecuting children as adults is, in fact, Cannizzaro’s default practice.
Raise the Age: A Common-Sense Plan for Safer Communities
In Louisiana, as with other states, adulthood usually means 18. Seventeen-year olds cannot vote, serve on juries, join the army, or buy a lottery ticket. There is only one exception: Kids are automatically charged, jailed, and imprisoned as adults the day they turn 17, regardless of their offense. Their arrests and convictions are then public record – making it that much harder for them to enlist in the military, obtain a job, or even get an education. They are set up to fail before they have even gotten started.
This report argues that Louisiana should join 41 other states – including our neighbors in Mississippi and Alabama – in raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction to 18. Including 17-year-olds in our juvenile justice system is safe, smart, costeffective, and fair.
Raise the Age - A Common-Sense Plan for Safer Communities: include 17-Year-Olds in Juvenile Court
This report from the Louisiana Youth Justice Coalition argues that Louisiana should join 41 other states – including its neighbors in Mississippi and Alabama – in raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction to 18. Including 17-year-olds in its juvenile justice system is safe, smart, costeffective, and fair.
A Legislated Study of Raising the Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction in Louisiana: The future of 17-year-olds in the Louisiana Justice System
This report (2016) was commissioned by the Louisiana state legislature and analyzes the implications, ins and outs of a raise the age reform in Louisiana. Based on scientific, factual and financial evidence, the document strongly recommends that the state raises the age of juvenile court jurisdiction in order to benefit public safety, promote youth rehabilitation and create long-term savings. Additionally, the report suggests Louisiana to adopt a comprehensive five-year strategic plan for juvenile justice, including the transition of 17-year-olds. This recommended plan should focus on the use of the latest evidence-based practices and the development of a comprehensive data infrastructure to inform policy, practice, and decision making at all stages in the juvenile justice system.
Keep Children out of Orleans Parish Prison
Keep Children out of Orleans Parish Prison (2015) written by authors Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, Priscilla Ocen, and Nanda Jyoti, focuses on the issue presented by the Louisiana Center for Children's Rights and speaks of unfair treatment towards youths. It deals with juveniles who are transferred into the adult justice system and put into the Orleans Parish Prison in New Orleans, Louisiana. This prison lacks sufficient necessities for youths and their development as young persons. In addition, at the Orleans Parish Prison there are high rates of sexual and physical assault, suicide, isolation, and the deprivation of and adequate education. Therefore, they believe the proper solution resides in the Youth Service Center (YSC), which provides great amenities for young people and a well-equipped staff.
More Harm Than Good: How Children Are Unjustly Tried as Adults in New Orleans
This article details and analyzes the damage of prosecuting children as adults in Louisiana. The Orleans Parish District Attorney transfers children to adult courts "in unprecedented numbers" and this article by the SPLC gives recommendations to end this harming practice.
Pushed Out: Harsh Discipline in Louisiana Schools Denies the Right to Education
The report "Pushed Out: Harsh Discipline in Louisiana Schools Denies the Right to Education" (2010) exposes the conditions in Louisiana’s school system that not only deprives children from a good education, but also creates the school-to-prison pipeline.
What’s Really Up Doc?: A Call For Reform of the Office of Juvenile Justice
This report (2012) denounces the failures of Louisiana’s juvenile justice reforms and calls for new leadership in finally moving the state back towards a model of juvenile justice based on rehabilitation, cost-effectiveness, a continuum of services for youth, and respect for youth and families.