Rally set for juvenile justice

Hundreds are expected to gather on the Capitol steps in Baton Rouge on April 6 for the “Raise the Age Louisiana” rally urging state lawmakers to make 18 the age at which an individual can be charged and incarcerated as adults. Louisiana is currently one of only nine states that charge 17 year olds as adults, a practice opponents call “fiscally irresponsible and inhumane.”

About 6,000 Louisiana kids are charged as and/or incarcerated with adults annually. The Louisiana Youth Justice Coalition hopes to change that in two weeks as hundreds of teens and representatives of a network of more than 60 advocacy groups gather to urge change. The coalition says it will also release a “powerful report” at the rally arguing that “the inclusion of 17 year olds in our juvenile justice system is safe, smart, cost-effective and fair.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards will be a featured speaker along with Rob Reardon, director of corrections at the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center, Dr. James Gilmore, director of the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet, Baton Rouge Juvenile Court Judge Pamela Taylor Johnson and others.

The rally begins at 11 a.m.

Meanwhile, head over to The Advertiser for an op-ed by Lafayette Sheriff Mike Neustrom, who makes a compelling case for raising the adult prosecution age to 18 in Louisiana. Click here for that.