In Louisiana, district attorneys can choose to prosecute children as young as 14 in adult court for certain serious offenses. This process is called juvenile transfer, and it has dire consequences for kids and for public safety.
Children who are prosecuted as adults can be incarcerated in adult jails and prisons, which are incredibly dangerous and traumatizing for children. They often don’t have access to a high school education or any age-appropriate services. They are also saddled with a criminal record that can bar them from higher education, good jobs, and stable housing for a lifetime. It’s no wonder that children who are prosecuted as adults are more likely to offend in the future than those who remain in the juvenile system.
Statewide, we fight to change juvenile transfer laws so that we can limit, and one day end, this harmful practice. In New Orleans, we challenge District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro on his frequent use of transfer, which he deploys more than any other prosecutor in the state.
Not All Kids Treated Equally
Research shows that Black and Brown children are much more likely to be prosecuted as adults than white children, even when they face the same charges. The reason, in part, is that district attorneys do not have to consider any objective criteria when deciding whether to transfer a child to adult court. And that leaves open the potential for racial bias, whether overt or implicit. Learn more.