Louisiana Juvenile Justice at the Crossroads

Over the past decade, interest in community-based corrections for juveniles has grown while dissatisfaction with the expense and ineffectiveness of training schools has increased. Since 1985, the National Council on Crime and Delinquency has investigated technologies that would make a shift from juvenile justice systems plagued with over-incarceration to those emphasizing community-based care. The application of a public-safety risk assessment instrument to Louisiana juvenile offenders revealed that substantial numbers of youth could be safely managed in well-run community programs. This risk assessment technology, together with accurate, policy sensitive, population forecasting and an intensive review of existing community programs, can substantially assist administrators in moving toward more effective juvenile correctional systems.