Calling on the Governor – As of right now, Louisiana accounts for a disproportionate amount of all positive COVID-19 cases in juvenile prisons in the entire United States. Three weeks ago, none of Louisiana’s incarcerated kids tested positive. As of today, 27 have (plus four more in group homes). Three weeks from now, how many more will test positive?
Juvenile prisons have already proved ripe for outbreak. That’s why we’re calling on Governor Edwards to issue an emergency executive order authorizing the immediate release of children in custody – especially children who are being held on nonviolent offenses, kids who have served more than 50% of their sentence, and kids who have less than one year left on their sentence.
We need your voice on this! Please, take 30 seconds using this simple form to email Governor Edwards to #FreeOurYouth. You, too, can help protect the safety of these young lives during this crisis.
Juvenile Court Closures & Hearing Alternatives – As juvenile courts began closing across the state, our advocates have been working to ensure that hearing alternatives, such as tele-hearings, get put into place so that arrested children won’t have to needlessly spend weeks (or months!) in custody until their cases can be heard.
Our team has also been pushing to reduce the juvenile jail population during this crisis and bring kids home as quickly as possible. Our efforts have been paying off. In New Orleans’ Juvenile Justice Intervention Center, 49 children (above the 48 total capacity) were being detained in late-March. This morning, that figure is down to 29. With our efforts continuing, we’re hopeful that tomorrow it will be even lower.
Thank you for standing with us during these trying times. Your support is what makes this important work possible. Together, we’ll get through this.