Across Louisiana, many District Attorneys implement effective diversion programs for youth emphasizing treatment, accountability, and restorative justice. As the "gatekeepers" in the juvenile justice system, we recognize that developing a system that balances services to youth and public safety is the most effective way to achieve stronger communities and improve the quality of life for Louisiana citizens.
In an effort to develop more options for District Attorneys and communities, the LDAA and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation have partnered to evaluate the current availability and use of diversion programs and graduated sanctions in Louisiana, provide information to District Attorneys and other juvenile justice professionals on best practices in programming, and develop recommendations, as well as implement a plan to increase the availability and use of graduated sanctions in local jurisdictions. Other joint initiatives with the Foundation include prosecutor training and data reporting.
The LDAA has established the Juvenile Justice Task Force made up of 14 Louisiana prosecutors, both elected District Attorneys and Assistant District Attorneys, to guide the implementation and activities of the grant and the juvenile efforts of the LDAA. District Attorney David W. Burton, 36th Judicial District, serves as Task Force Chair, and convenes the group on a bi-monthly basis.
Past initiatives of the Task Force include the development of Juvenile Diversion Guidelines and Recommendations on Graduated Sanctions in the Juvenile Justice System. These products along with our current work addressing training needs of juvenile prosecutors and data collection will enhance positive outcomes for youth and promote public safety.
This information will be provided to the LDAA membership through trainings and seminars. Additionally, please be on the lookout for regular updates posted on the website regarding activities in juvenile justice reform and the progress of the Task Force. Should you need any information regarding juvenile justice issues, please contact Kristi Spinosa, the LDAA Juvenile Justice Project Coordinator. For more information on the Louisiana Models for Change MacArthur initiative, please visit the website.