Juvenile Justice Reform

FFLIC was created in response to horrifying stories of abuse and neglect in Louisiana’s secure-care facilities. Louisiana’s harsh and punitive juvenile justice system has targeted and mistreated Louisiana’s youth. FFLIC advocates for the children who are lost in this abusive system. FFLIC strives to give parents a voice when their children are taken from them. FFLIC’s goal is to change the practices and culture in these facilities so that they no longer mimic the adult prison system and instead provide a nurturing and rehabilitative environment.

In 2003 after years of work, FFLIC helped pass the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2003 (Act 1225). This led to the closing of the notorious Tallulah Correctional Center for Youth in 2004. The Juvenile Justice Reform Act also included the creation of the Juvenile Justice Implementation Committee (JJIC) tasked with overseeing reform, added periodic juvenile placement reviews to ensure that youth are kept in the least restrictive setting, and promoted the development of nationally recognized and accepted standards of practice for local juvenile detention facilities.

FFLIC’s goal is to make Louisiana’s juvenile justice system similar to the Missouri Model. Using the Missouri Model as the base, Louisiana has agreed to transition to LAMOD (Louisiana Model). LAMOD focuses on a therapeutic, child-centered environment. LAMOD includes smaller dorm sizes, homelike environments, and training the youth to be more responsible for their actions and peers. The implementation of LAMOD has been slow, but FFLIC is determined to see that the state makes the necessary changes.

FFLIC continues to monitor those in charge of the juvenile justice system to ensure that the goals of the Juvenile Justice Reform Act are met. FFLIC has regular meetings with the Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ). During these meetings with OJJ, FFLIC voices its concerns with the current state of Louisiana’s juvenile justice system as well has the concerns and stories they gather from parents of incarcerated children. FFLIC also monitors the Juvenile Justice Implementation Committee. Thus far, the JJIC has been ineffective and has not had regular meetings.

FFLIC has formed alliances with many organizations, locally and nationally, to help aid in the fight for juvenile justice reform. FFLIC has partnered with the nationally renowned Juvenile Detentions Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) of the Annie E. Casey Foundation. FFLIC has also partnered with Justice for Families, the Campaign for Youth Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention.

FFLIC fights for the disenfranchised and those targeted by the juvenile justice system. Though FFLIC tries to work with the stakeholders in the juvenile justice system, FFLIC faces constant opposition from those unwilling to embrace change that will alter a system that is harming the youth it is required to protect.