JJPL 2014 Legislative Agenda
JJPL prioritizes the following bills which have the potential to significantly impact students and individuals affected by the juvenile and criminal justice systems.
Police in Schools Are Not the Answer to the Newtown Shooting
Although increasing police presence in schools seems like a viable solution to incidents such as school shootings and high levels of youth violence in cities, studies show that this actually creates an environment in the educational setting that leads to an increase in the school to prison pipeline.
What’s Really Up Doc?
Unfortunately, close to a decade after the initial reforms, Louisiana has seen significant backsliding in juvenile justice reform at the statewide level. This report, written with information obtained through public records requests, statistics from the Office of Juvenile Justice, media accounts and interviews with youth and families, has documented numerous failures at the Office of Juvenile Justice.
Locked Up and Out
Louisiana, once known to house some of the most brutal youth prisons in the entire country, can now claim a rich history of juvenile justice reform. While just over a decade ago The New York Times called Louisiana home to the “most troubled”
juvenile public defenders office in the country, and both Human Rights Watch and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) detailed brutal and inhumane conditions in Louisiana’s juvenile prisons, in 2003 the Legislature passed sweeping reforms that ushered in a new era of juvenile justice.
No Better Off
After close to a year of conducting interviews with youth incarcerated at the Swanson Center for Youth in Monroe, Louisiana, reviewing public records, legislative records, and allaying data secured through public information requests, the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana (JJPL) has released No Better Off: An Update on the Swanson Center for Youth. With the aim to further juvenile justice reform in the state of Louisiana by examining the current challenges at Louisiana’s largest secure care juvenile prison and to recommend solutions to improve the system.
Treated Like Trash
As Hurricane Katrina approached, people throughout the region began to evacuate by the hundreds of
thousands. New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin estimated that by Sunday night, nearly one million people had fled New Orleans and its surrounding parishes.6 Among the many people who could not flee – even as the Weather Service’s warnings continued, even as the city descended into chaos – was a group of children locked up in Orleans Parish Prison (OPP). The stories of these children, the systemic failures that led to their abandonment and the strategies necessary to fix juvenile detention in New Orleans are the subject of this Report.
Trash to Triumph
In August 2005, while the floodwaters rose in New Orleans, the nation watched in horror at the graphic images of residents of the city, many of them low‐income and African American, stranded on rooftops, suffering in the heat on bridges and in boats, and waiting for buses that took days to come. Yet few outside of New Orleans thought about what happened to the city’s young people who were being held in the youth detention center awaiting trial, many for non‐violent offenses, when the levees failed.