In Louisiana, children ages 10 to 17 can be arrested, prosecuted, and incarcerated in the juvenile justice system. While it’s meant to be rehabilitative rather than punitive, the juvenile system usually does more harm than good: it disconnects youth from their families and schools, subjects them to the trauma of incarceration, and makes them more likely to offend in the future.
We see our clients and their families struggle with these consequences every day. We fight for their individual rights, but we also tackle the systemic issues that trap children in the system in the first place. We advocate for state and local policies that reduce the use of arrest and incarceration and provide effective alternatives. And when kids do enter the system, we call for policies that keep them safe, protect their rights, and get them home as soon as possible.
Addressing Racial Disparities
Over 95% of the children arrested in New Orleans are Black, many for childlike behavior that children of all races engage in. To help address this problem, we worked with the police department on a policy to reduce unnecessary arrests of Black youth. Read more.