A decade after the Louisiana Legislature passed sweeping reforms of the state’s scandalous juvenile justice system, the number of youths locked up has declined from 2,000 then to 350 today. But problems persist, reports The Lens. On paper, Louisiana is called a “model” state by reform agencies, approaching what criminologist Barry Krisberg calls the “American juvenile justice ideal.”
The state “has made remarkable progress,” said a senior research associate with the National Center for Juvenile Justice. But the families of youthful offenders, defense lawyers and organizations such as the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange continue to criticize the way the state treats its youngest convicts. Some say the state's juvenile justice system is regressing toward the conditions that made it infamous in years past.