United States is the only country in the world that condemns children to die in prison - and Louisiana tops the list of states that dole out life without parole sentences for kids. We need common-sense reforms that hold children accountable while still recognizing their capacity for redemption.
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 — a system that uses community supports to help children grow and thrive; that prepares them for a future of real opportunity; and that holds them accountable in age-appropriate settings, rather than pushing them into adult jails and criminal courts.
You can read here about our priority issues for 2017 and beyond. We provide staffing and support for the Louisiana Youth Justice Coalition, which advocates for juvenile justice reform at the state legislature.
Mandatory minimum sentences for kids – often referred to as “Vitter sentences” – take decisions out of the hands of judges and fail to make our communities safer. Louisiana should give discretion back to our judges by repealing these sentences for children tried in juvenile court.
Louisiana lacks statewide safety standards for juvenile secure care facilities. It's time we ensure that children in the state’s care have environments and programs that are safe, effective, and rehabilitative.
Juvenile court records can prevent young people from succeeding long after they have put the justice system behind them. Louisiana must follow national best practices in its juvenile expungement laws – those governing the permanent destruction of records – to give young people a fighting chance.