Survey Says Louisiana Now One of U.S. Leaders in Juvenile Justice


Louisiana, which not long ago was accused of running gladiator camps for young offenders, now is among the best states in the nation for setting up programs aimed at helping juveniles who find themselves in trouble with the law, says a national survey reported by The Advocate in Baton Rouge. Many states announce reform programs and start them, but the services are not widely used by the families and juveniles, usually as an alternative to being incarcerated, said Peter Greenwood, who conducted the study.

“You're doing a great job down here,” Greenwood of Advancing Evidence Based Practice, told officials, who run some of the programs, at a Louisiana Models for Change event. “What are the lessons? What does Louisiana do? We have to teach that to other places.” Greenwood's research collected demographic and juvenile justice processing data from all 50 states, assessing the extent to which each state is using evidence-based programs, and identifying those characteristics or practices that either impede or support the adoption of such programs. Louisiana began making changes to its system in 2006. Since then, it has become one of four states that showed a high percentage of the affected population using the services. The study identified the common steps that the four states — Louisiana, Maine, Connecticut. and New Mexico — have in common to help other states.

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