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In response to news of the legislature’s approval of the Governor’s appointment of Kenneth “Kenny” Loftin as head of the Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ), Gina Womack, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), issued the following statement:

“We are deeply disappointed by the lack of accountability and protection of youth in the state’s custody. Kenny Loftin failed the youth in his care, and those failures have repercussions for the safety of our communities. It’s beyond comprehension how one’s abysmal performance at his job– to protect youth– can earn him a promotion to the top position in youth justice. The approval of his appointment is a green light for the continued mismanagement, disregard for safety, and abuse that has become business as usual at OJJ. This is yet another shameful moment in our state’s history and another example of the many ways our state leaders have perpetuated a harmful and abusive system that funnels children into the adult criminal justice system rather than rehabilitating them and supporting their needs. 

We can only hope that our state leaders will realize that it’s not too late to transform our broken youth justice system. We must commit to a deeper investment in youth and their rehabilitation and protection. In order to truly achieve safety, we will need Loftin and the gubernatorial administration to rely on the evidence-based solutions that have been clearly stated and outlined in the Missouri Model and in Louisiana’s justice reform Act 1225 of 2003.”