Debt Free Justice in Louisiana

Criminal Justice, Legislation | 11/08/2021

Karen Clark
Development and Operations Manager

During the 2021 legislative session, Stand Louisiana’s members sent more emails about HB 216 than any other piece of legislation. Authored by Representative Royce Duplessis (D-93), HB 216 sought to eliminate fees, costs, and taxes from our state’s juvenile justice system. We knew this legislation could put a big dent in the school to prison pipeline and were thrilled to join the coalition working to pass this legislation. 

Representative Duplessis did a fantastic job as bill author and HB 216 passed both houses unanimously before being signed as Act 123 by Governor John Bel Edwards. While this broad and bipartisan support may have surprised some, it didn’t surprise us. When we focus on improving the lives of children and families through legislation, we have much more in common than we may think. We are so thankful we were part of this successful coalition and proud of what we accomplished together.

But the work doesn’t end once a bill is signed into law. Now, we must implement Act 123 to really put that dent in the school to prison pipeline. And we’ll do it along with our partners.

From Ernest Johnson, Co-Founder and Director at Ubuntu Village NOLA: “On June 10, 2021, Governor Edwards of Louisiana signed House Bill 216 into law, eliminating fees, taxes, and costs ("juvenile fees") in the juvenile court system. As an organization, we built such a strong coalition around HB 216 with our partners Policy Advocacy Clinic at UC Berkeley School of Law (PAC), Louisiana Center for Children's Rights (LCCR), and Stand for Children Louisiana. We are just so proud of the work everyone did. Together with our partners, we are advancing the goals of implementing HB 216 to abolish juvenile fees throughout Louisiana. Our objective is to end the assessment and collection of juvenile fees outlined in HB 216 and relieve vulnerable youth and families of any outstanding debt.”

Today, Stand Louisiana’s Executive Director Carrie Griffin Monica (below) joined Johnson, Representative Duplessis, and Rachel Gassert from the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights to answer questions about the experience and the legislative win on camera. We will continue to talk about this issue and how we can address the state’s school to prison pipeline, and are thankful to have your support.

  

 

Inspired to get involved with future efforts to dent the school to prison pipeline? Tell us here: https://p2a.co/2yvsnpx. Thanks!

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