return to press room

FROM: Times Picayune

Mothers fear for safety of youths in detention
Times Picayune
Letters To The Editor

Saturday May 17, 2003

This past Sunday, instead of celebrating Mother's Day like many, we, along with the more than 1,000 other mothers of children incarcerated in Louisiana's juvenile detention centers, spent the day terrified for the safety of our children. Janet Goins, the mother of the young man killed by a guard at Bridge City recently, wasn't even this fortunate. She spent Mother's Day in deep mourning.

Why does the problem of our broken juvenile justice system continue year after year despite the cries of so many families? How many children must be beaten or killed before we recognize the truth -- that locking up children does not help them, our families or our communities but only makes the problem worse?

As parents, we believe in holding our children accountable and teaching them to grow into responsible, caring adults. But this is not what happens when you throw children behind bars for years with guards trained to respond only with violence.

We know what our children need. They need education, mental health care, faith programs, job training and strong, supportive communities. Why do we have such an expensive juvenile justice system that provides none of these services?

Our state has the opportunity to change this situation this year. There is legislation pending that would close the notorious Tallulah facility and put the millions of dollars of savings into community based programs that truly educate and rehabilitate.

We, and other members of Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children, challenge the Legislature to make next Mother's Day a day to celebrate.

Brenda Brue

New Orleans

Maureen Eseman


Times Picayune



return to press room