The Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights (LCCR) is a nonprofit law center that promotes fairness, dignity, and opportunity for Louisiana’s most vulnerable children.
Transforming Juvenile Justice. Through policy advocacy, public education, and impact litigation, we are working towards a transformed juvenile justice system. We believe in a system that is safe, smart, cost-effective, and fair.
Defending Children. When children fall into the justice system, LCCR defends their rights and fight for their legal and life success. We provide holistic legal representation; leadership in juvenile defense reform; and training and practice resources for public defenders.
LCCR’s expert staff is available to offer perspective and expertise on a variety of topics related to juvenile justice, youth development, criminal justice, and public defense. Our leadership team includes:
Rachel Gassert is the Policy Director of the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights. She manages LCCR’s New Orleans juvenile justice policy reform portfolio. She is also responsible for statewide reform initiatives including Raise the Age Louisiana and LCCR’s campaign against juvenile mass incarceration.
Rachel is an expert in data-driven juvenile justice policy reform. Prior to joining LCCR, she was a Program Associate with the Juvenile Justice Strategy Group at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. At Casey, Rachel was responsible for the design, implementation, and management of the Foundation’s efforts to help jurisdictions across the country reduce their reliance on juvenile incarceration. Rachel received a Master’s of Arts in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College at Columbia University and completed her undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Meghan Garvey is the Managing Director of the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights. Her portfolio and areas of expertise include holistic approaches to defense advocacy for children; incorporating social work and civil legal services into defense teams; coordinating services for vulnerable youth in New Orleans; and engaging youth voices in juvenile justice reform.
Prior to joining LCCR, Meg worked as a supervising attorney with the Orleans Public Defenders, where she was a member of the office’s founding post-Katrina reform team. Meg has worked as a capital appeals investigator for the Habeas Corpus Resource Center and as a residential case manager for adults in group homes and SROs in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Meg began her advocacy career in 1996 as a residential aid in a group home for adults with severe and persistent mental illness, and ever since has been working to address the roots of families’ interactions with the justice system.
- 2017 legislative agenda fact sheet
- Data Dashboard: New Orleans' Juvenile Justice System
- Overview of Louisiana’s juvenile justice system
- Powerpoint: How a delinquency case works in New Orleans
- Glossary of commonly-used juvenile justice terms
- LCCR's 2015-2018 Strategic Plan
Press Releases and Reports
- 06.14.16 Press Release: Raise the Age Louisiana Act Becomes Law
- 04.04.16 Press Release: Hundreds of Young People to Mass on Capitol Steps for First Annual Youth Justice Day
- 03.14.16 Press Release: Louisiana Youth Justice Coalition Announces 2016 Legislative Agenda
- 02.04.16 Press Release: Experts Find Juvenile Justice Reform Would Benefit Louisiana
- 01.25.16 Press Release: United States Supreme Court Says Louisiana Must Give Children Sentenced to Die in Prison a Chance at Release
- 01.06.16 Press Release: Poll: Most want state to include 17-year-olds in the juvenile justice system
- 11.11.15 Press Release: Community Advocates Deliver Petition to City Council
- 10.20.15 Report: Keep Children Out of Orleans Parish Prison
LCCR in the News
- Monroe News Star - 06.12.2016 - Edwards signs Raise the Age, promises more justice reform
- WWNO - 05.25.2016 - What Does 'Adult' Mean In The Eyes Of The Law? In Louisiana, Many People Are Working To Change It
- Baton Rouge Advocate - 05.16.2016 - Our Views: Young offenders have better chance to straighten out when age raised to 18 for adult justice system
- New York Times - 05.13.2016 - States Move Toward Treating 17-Year-Old Offenders as Juveniles, Not Adults
- Monroe News Star - 05.11.2016 - Morrell's 'Raise the Age' bills clear bar in House panel
- New Orleans Advocate - 05.10.2016 - Archbishop Gregory Aymond: Prosecuting 17 years old as adults 'a great injustice, and it has to stop'
- Associated Press - 05.07.2016 - At what age an adult? Many in Louisiana say 17 is too young
- Nola.com - 05.06.2016 - Raising the age for juveniles gives 17-year-old offenders another chance: Editorial
- Think Progress - 05.04.2016 - Louisiana May Stop Funneling Teenagers Into Adult Prisons
- Associated Press - 04.12.2016 - Bill changing adult prosecution age headed to Senate debate
- Baton Rouge Advocate - 04.12.2016 - ‘Raise the Age’ bill clears Louisiana Senate committee
- The Times-Picayune - 04.12.2016 - Senate committee approves bill to raise age for prosecuting juveniles as adults
- Louisiana Weekly - 04.11.2016 - Coalition calls on legislature to raise age for adult prosecution
- WWNO - 04.08.2016 - New Orleans High Schoolers Head To Capitol For 'Raise The Age' Action
- WBRZ - 04.06.2016 - Teens speak about rallying for raising prosecution age in La.
- WWL TV - 04.06.2016 - Group wants 17-year-olds out of adult justice system in Louisiana
- WAFB - 04.06.2016 - Gov. Edwards, teens rally to include 17-year-olds in state juvenile justice system
- BR Proud - 04.06.2016 - Students fight for juvenile justice reform at the Capitol, "Raise the Age" rally
- Gambit - 04.06.2016 - Louisiana students rally in Baton Rouge for the "Raise the Age Louisiana Act"
- Baton Rouge Advocate - 04.06.2016 - Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards supports raising the age for criminal prosecutions
- The Daily Advertiser - 04.06.2016 - Lafayette, NOLA students rally for bill that ends trying 17-year-olds as adults
- The Times-Picayune - 04.06.2016 - 'Raise the age' rally calls attention to criminal charges for 17-year-olds
- New Orleans Advocate - 04.03.2016 - New Orleans, Lafayette teenagers to lobby legislators about raising age for adulthood in criminal justice system
- The Lens - 04.01.2016 - Too young to take custody of his son, but old enough to be tried as an adult?
- Baton Rouge Advocate - 03.20.2016 - Guest column: Including 17-year-olds in the juvenile justice system makes us safer
- Associated Press - 03.15.2016 - Louisiana Supreme Court chief airs indigent defense worries
- Nola.com/The Times-Picayune - 03.14.2016 - Gov. John Bel Edwards: 'This work is about Louisiana'
- The Shreveport Time - 03.11.2016 - Raising the age is the right thing to do
- New Orleans CityBusiness - 03.10.2016 - Raise the age to boost the economy
- ThinkProgress - 03.09.2016 - Louisiana’s Budget Crisis Spells Doomsday For Justice In New Orleans
- The Weekly Standard - 03.09.2016 - Justice for Juniors
- American Press - 02.17.2016 - Push being made to change juvenile offender age rule
- The Baton Rouge Advocate - 02.14.2016 - Moving 17-year-olds to juvenile courts for most offenses would save Louisiana taxpayers millions, study expects
- The Times-Picayune - 02.03.2016 - A mistake at 17 shouldn't automatically send a kid to adult prison: Editorial
- The Baton Rouge Advocate - 01.25.16 - Juveniles convicted of murder as adults can get chance at parole, U.S. Supreme Court rules in Baton Rouge case
- The American Press (Lake Charles) - 01.21.16 - Our View: Juvenile justice system needs work
- The Baton Rouge Advocate - 01.20.16 - Juvenile justice advocates push for Louisiana to raise age to enter adult criminal justice system
- The Shreveport Times - 01.12.16 - Proposed legislation aims to 'raise the age'
- The Baton Rouge Advocate - 01.04.16 - With new governor, a debate brews about the future of Louisiana’s juvenile justice system
- The Times-Picayune - 12.31.15 - Our juvenile justice system is broken: A letter to the editor
- The Alexandria Town Talk - 12.12.15 - State should raise age of juvenile jurisdiction to 18
- The Monroe News Star - 12.8.15 - Group focused on juvenile justice reform
- The Shreveport Times - 12.6.15 - Juvenile offenders prosecuted as adults more likely to re-offend
- The New Orleans Advocate - 11.11.15 - As officials squabble over building plans, some juveniles still being held at New Orleans' adult jail
- Fox 8 WVUE - 11.11.15 - Effort launched to stop housing young inmates at OPP
- The Lens - 11.11.15 - Mayor pledges $7 million to expand city’s juvenile-detention center by 2018
- The Times-Picayune - 11.11.15 - City Hall rally's point: No teens should be in New Orleans jail
- Equal Voices News - 11.3.15 - A Look at Life Inside Youth Jails
- The Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNC - 10.17.15 - Juvenile justice key part of sentencing reform efforts