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In response to the advancement of legislative proposals during the special session on crime and public safety, Gina Womack, the Executive Director and Co-founder of Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), issued the following statement:

“We are appalled at the proposed bills that ignore the safety and future of youth and communities across the state. Louisiana politicians are taking us backwards by grasping to appear “tough-on-crime”, when in fact they are contributing to ineffective and harmful policies that put youth and their communities at risk. Evidence shows that harsher punishments are not only more costly, but they do not work.  It’s time our leaders use research-backed solutions to create safe communities, instead of wasting money feeding a broken system.

Lawmakers must commit to mitigating the root causes of crime instead of perpetuating it. We must address the real need for effective and compassionate approaches to justice in order to move towards real solutions. It is clear we need to change the system itself, instead of continuing the cycle of harm. That change starts with divesting from our current, broken system, and fully implementing Act 1225 of 2003– an unfulfilled promise to transform the youth justice system into a holistic model of support and coordinated care. 

We must invest in the solutions we know work – prevention, supports, and rehabilitation. Until we decide to take a different approach and embark upon a complete transformation of the system, we will not achieve real safety for our youth and families.”