Readout of Administrator Liz Ryan’s Visit to Baton Rouge to Announce Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Grant to Southern University Law Center
Liz Ryan, Administrator of the Office of Justice Programs’ Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, this week visited Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she announced a $250,000 grant award to Southern University Law Center. The OJJDP award will support the center’s work to help the Louisiana Juvenile Justice Reform Act Implementation Commission fulfill its charge of strengthening Louisiana’s juvenile justice system and protecting the state’s youth. It will also enable the commission to meet its mandate to support community-based care and place children in the least restrictive conditions.
“Justice-involved youth should be served in their home communities whenever possible and consistent with public safety. Secure custody in juvenile justice facilities must be rare, reserved only for when young people pose a serious risk to community safety—and it must be safe and humane,” said Ryan. “With OJJDP funding, the Southern University Law Center will help the commission keep kids out of Louisiana’s adult jails and prisons.”
Administrator Ryan was joined in the announcement by state Senator Royce Duplessis, Chair of the JJRAIC, and SULC Chancellor John Pierre. They were also joined by Gina Womack, Vice Chair of the JJRAIC and Executive Director of Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children. Ryan commended the commission for its dedication to the youth of Louisiana over the two decades of its existence. The state’s Juvenile Justice Reform Act, Act 1225, created the JJRAIC in 2003. She also praised SULC’s leadership and commitment to service, exemplified by student-staffed legal clinics for people in need, including youth.
Ryan extolled the JJRAIC’s work to limit youth interaction with the criminal justice system, citing research showing the heightened risks of trauma and mortality to young people confined in adult correctional facilities. “I know that everyone in this room is dedicated to ending this trauma and violence,” she said. “All youth deserve to be treated humanely.”
In addition to the award announced this week, the state of Louisiana and its Office of Juvenile Justice have received substantial OJJDP funding to support youth, including grants to fund evidence-based intervention, promote positive youth development and address the needs of girls in the juvenile justice system.
About the Office of Justice Programs
The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership, grants, training, technical assistance, and other resources to improve the nation’s capacity to prevent and reduce crime; advance equity and fairness in the administration of justice; assist victims; and uphold the rule of law.
More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.