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Louisiana May Dip Into State Savings For Juvenile Facilities

Louisiana legislative leaders are considering a withdrawal of money from a state savings account to build and refurbish juvenile justice facilities, News From The States reports. Rep. Julie Emerson filed legislation to allow lawmakers to withdraw up to $400 million from Louisiana’s Revenue Stabilization Trust Fund before July 1, 2025. Juvenile justice campuses would be prioritized if they tap into the money, said House Speaker Phillip DeVillier, and Rep. Jack McFarland. “It would be for one-time expenses, things we need to fund now,” DeVillier said.  McFarland, who helps build the state budget as House Appropriations Committee chairman, said the state needs to build new juvenile justice facilities or renovate the existing ones in order to provide the appropriate education and services to incarcerated youth. “My goal in all of this is to provide rehabilitation” to young people, McFarland said. “You cannot do that with the way facilities are today.”


The money could also help pay for Gov. Jeff Landry’s new state police troop in New Orleans, adult prison upgrades and Attorney General Liz Murrill’s initiative to take over some criminal prosecutions in New Orleans, Senate President Cameron Henry.  The lawmakers agreed that any money spent from the state’s savings would not be used to cover ongoing costs, such as pay for state troopers or correctional workers. It would pay for what they called infrastructure. Landry has made public safety his top priority, especially tackling juvenile delinquency. Law enforcement officials have struggled for years to find space to house incarcerated  underage children and teenagers. Federal laws require minors to be separated from adults in correctional facilities, making it difficult for sheriffs to house youth alongside adults in jails. Many parts of the state don’t have dedicated juvenile detention centers, where incarcerated minors aren’t housed with adults and receive educational services.  


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