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Chief justice calls for youth prison reform

4/15/03 4:18 PM

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- The chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court urged the Legislature to adopt major reforms in the state juvenile justice system, including alternatives to locking young criminals in youth prisons.

"The whole nation is watching to see whether we will truly deliver comprehensive juvenile justice reform," Pascal Calogero said in the "State of the Judiciary" address he delivers to lawmakers every two years.

Calogero focused on two areas of proposed reform in his speech to a joint session of the House and Senate. He called on the Legislature to create a new Department of Children, Youth and Families.

A single department will make providing services to children and families in need more efficient and could also develop a reform system for youth corrections.

Calogero also called for a "more balanced" juvenile correction system emphasizing prevention, early intervention and alternatives to prison.

"We need to reduce juvenile incarceration rapidly, providing for those offenders who can be moved to more effective and less expensive alternatives and reinvesting the savings into prevention, early intervention and other alternative sanctions, as an abundance of national research recommends," Calogero said.



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