Juvenile Justice News Update

Federal judge rules Louisiana must move minors out of Angola. From the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights: This morning, Judge Shelly Dick ordered the removal of all youth from Angola’s West Feliciana Center For Youth by next Friday, September 15th. We’re elated that she stood not only on the right side of history but most importantly, with youth from our state, who have endured inhumane conditions like extreme temperatures in their cells during the hottest Louisiana summer on record, the use of mace, solitary confinement and a lack of educational provisions.

We’re thankful to learn that this is the end of this facility’s use and that these kids can begin to heal from the trauma that they’ve been continuously exposed to during their time within the juvenile legal system as we remain steadfast in our dedication to hold the Office ofJuvenile Justice (OJJ) accountable for the substandard care and deplorable abuse that these children have suffered and that continues to be administered throughout all of their facilities.

Ashley Hamilton, LCCR’s Policy Manager, observed several days of the hearing and reminds us of the ongoing struggle to treat kids like kids. “It is imperative to note, this is not a win for us; these children are not going home. Moving them to another OJJ facility simply lessens the blow. Children being locked in cages and treated inhumanely does not rehabilitate them, itdoes not make our communities safer and it does not strengthen our families. We will not be able to move the needle on youth justice until our children are seen as humans and are allowed to thrive in their homes and communities. Don’t get too comfortable, we’ve got work to do” says Hamilton.

Southern University Law Center is getting a federal grant of $250,000 to help support juvenile justice reform in the state. Senator Royce Duplessis leads a commission to implement Act 1225 that is now 20 years old. Today Senator Duplessis said “Act 1225 was passed 20 years ago. This sweeping legislation was supposed to reform our juvenile justice system by using best practices focused on therapy and intervention. That did not happen. Today we were happy to announce a federal grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) that will assist greatly in implementing this law. I’m grateful that Southern University Law Center has stepped up to assist in this crucial effort. A therapeutic/ intervention model for juveniles does not hinder public safety. It’s the pathway to public safety.”