The Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights and the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana are joining forces for Louisiana’s children. Learn more.
JJPL is proud to support all of our partner organizations. The following organizations were fostered within JJPL before becoming independent nonprofits.
The history and capacity of YEP is the history of recent reforms in juvenile justice in Louisiana. With the leadership and vision of three former employees of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL), YEP incorporated as a 501-c-3 nonprofit organization in June 2004. JJPL and the Southern Poverty Law Center provided the seed money and incubation assistance needed to launch YEP. As JJPL employees, YEP’s founders were instrumental in reforming Louisiana’s juvenile justice system from one that was centered on incarceration (as a result of private jail construction, political corruption, racism and the injustice of poverty) to one that focuses on rehabilitation and the development of quality, community-based programs. Louisiana now has legislation that commits the state to reduce its reliance on unjust incarceration and to develop community programs that are geared to treat, rehabilitate, educate, and care for Louisiana’s children. The passage of Act 1225, The Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2003, marked the beginning of Louisiana’s journey toward a more egalitarian and rehabilitative juvenile justice system. Since 2003, one youth prison has closed and as of June 2006, the number of incarcerated youth has dropped to 566 from a high of 1,900 in 1997.
Prior to the recent statewide juvenile justice reforms in Louisiana, the founders of YEP lost many of their youth clients. A staggering number of their clients were killed in the streets of New Orleans and many more, despite good intentions and strong motivation, recidivated into the adult criminal or juvenile justice systems. YEP’s founders were disheartened by the fate of their clients and felt that the absence of community support and appropriate community-based services for adjudicated youth were partially to blame. Identifying this gap in services in the City of New Orleans — YEP’s founders shifted their focus away from JJPL’s statewide mission and toward the creation of YEP — a culturally competent, community-based, positive youth development program that targeted the specific needs of court involved youth from New Orleans. YEP’s founders knew that youth could effect positive change in their lives if they received caring and meaningful support and appropriate re-entry services. YEP was created by integrating first-hand knowledge of the re-entry needs of youth offenders with evidence-based modalities from youth development programs that are considered best practices.There are no other programs in the city of New Orleans that provide holistic, wrap-around services to court-involved youth. YEP links youth with existing social services and community resources and it also provides in-house, culturally competent care that empowers youth and their families to advocate for themselves. YEP teaches youth and their families how to navigate legal, social service and greater community systems. It does this in part by collaborating with a wide range of local entities including the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, various faith-based organizations, mentors, educational programs, job-training centers and counseling specialists.
Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) is a statewide membership-based organization that fights for a better life for all of Louisiana’s youth, especially those involved in or targeted by the juvenile justice system.As mothers and fathers, grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and allies we believe in and implement a model of organizing that is people and community centered, and is explicitly anti-racist.We engage in education, community building, and leadership development advocacy through strategically chosen goals in order to empower individuals, families and communities to transform currently oppressive systems and institutions into ones that uphold justice for our families, to build strong, powerful families and communities and to fight for justice for our children and ourselves. From the street level to the state level, from our meeting rooms to the state capitol, we are working to build a society based on the principles of racial justice, human rights, and full participation through our tireless fight for justice for youth. For this reason, we seek to build a truly democratic, multiracial organization whose membership reflects the communities we come from.We believe that we are the “experts” on what our communities need and that solidarity and collective action are our most powerful tools in our struggle for self-determination and justice for our children and families.
The Center for Children’s Rights is a nonprofit law office that defends the right of every Louisiana child to fairness, dignity, and opportunity.
Our Children’s Defense Team is the juvenile public defender in New Orleans, where our holistic, team-based, cross-disciplinary advocacy helps young people achieve their legal and life goals in more than 1,200 cases each year.
Statewide, we provide resources and training for public defenders who work with children, and we advocate for law and policy reform to build a juvenile justice system that is fair, compassionate, and supportive of positive youth development.
Safe Streets/Strong Communities is a community-based organization that campaigns for a new criminal justice system in New Orleans, one that creates safe streets and strong communities for everyone, regardless of race or economic status.
Why: The public safety system in New Orleans was in crisis long before Hurricane Katrina devastated our city. The system cost tax payers millions of dollars every year while it failed to keep our citizens safe, leaving us vulnerable to crime and violence and with one of the highest murder rates in the nation.
Abuse and corruption within the New Orleans Police Department, inside the Orleans Parish Prison Complex and within our court system has been the source of litigation, protests, and national scandal.These broken systems have brought shame to our city and limited our ability to attract both old and new residents into our great city. They have stifled the economic growth and opportunity our city so desperately needs. In addition, over a quarter of New Orleans’ residents are funneled through this broken system every year, which often devastates families and destroys the fabric of our communities.
BreakOUT! fights the criminalization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth who are directly impacted by the criminal or juvenile justice system in New Orleans. We affect concrete policy changes to build a safer and more just New Orleans. We build on the rich cultural tradition of resistance in the South to build the power of LGBTQ youth through youth organizing, healing justice, and leadership development programs.