Criminal Justice

"No Trespassing" sign outside Jetson Center for Youth in Baker

Louisiana pulls incarcerated girls out of controversial youth prison

BY: - September 27, 2023

Louisiana officials plan to move incarcerated girls held in state custody out of a north Louisiana detention center before Saturday, bringing an abrupt end to an arrangement with the facility that has been in place for 15 years. The Office of Juvenile Justice won’t renew its contract with the controversial Ware Youth Center in Coushatta […]

a fence topped with barbed wire

Recently unearthed report raises concerns about suicide prevention at Louisiana immigration center

BY: - September 27, 2023

A recently unearthed internal report by a federal civil rights office found serious deficiences in suicide prevention practices at a privately managed immigration detention center in Louisiana, including poor staff training and mental health screening procedures that “probably resulted in the under-reporting and under-identification of detainees who are at risk for suicide.” The 2017 report, […]

A view of a vacant courtroom toward the judge's bench

Mother who helped teen daughter abort fetus is sentenced to two years in prison

BY: - September 25, 2023

LINCOLN — A Norfolk, Nebraska, mother was sentenced Friday to two years in prison for helping her teenage daughter abort a fetus last year that was beyond 20 weeks of gestation, a violation of the state law in effect at the time. Jessica Burgess, 42, had pleaded guilty in a plea deal to a felony […]

The view from atop an offshore drilling platform shows a derrick, various pipes and a flame atop the derrick from vented gas.

Federal judge says area for oil and gas leases in Gulf of Mexico must be expanded

BY: - September 23, 2023

A federal judge has ordered the Biden administration to expand next week’s offshore oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico by 6 million acres. His ruling overturned a federal plan released last month that put limits in place to protect an endangered whale species. U.S. District Judge David Cain in Lake Charles […]

A large plume of smoke from the Tiger Island fire rises from forestland near Merryville in Beauregard Parish on Aug. 23, 2023.

Louisiana prison officials say they’re ready for wildfires; reform advocates have doubts

BY: - September 22, 2023

Louisiana is experiencing an unprecedented fire season with tens of thousands of acres burned throughout the state. Experts and state officials say that wildfire seasons like this one could become more normal as the state gets hotter and drier due to climate change. And as more wildfires burn, smoke from those fires will likely blanket […]

Police in Minneapolis unravel crime scene tape

Violent Crime Task Force offers glimpse of future showdowns over criminal justice reform

BY: - September 20, 2023

The newly seated Violent Crime Task Force met for the first time Tuesday. Its members convened for an introductory organizational session that lasted less than 30 minutes, but still provided a preview of the anticipated conservative push to unravel changes Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has made to Louisiana’s criminal justice system since taking office. […]

Images of the departmental uniform patches of the Alexandria Police Department, Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office and Pineville Police Department are shrouded in smoke with a dark background that features lights from a police car and a prison cell bars

Wrongful deaths, beatings, false arrests alleged in lawsuits against Rapides law enforcement

BY: and - September 20, 2023

A string of lawsuits lays out allegations of death, violence, negligence and unwarranted arrests, stops and searches against Rapides Parish law enforcement in recent years. Plaintiffs point fingers at leadership for permitting a climate of misconduct.   A Louisiana Illuminator review of federal and state court records since 2020 found multiple complaints against the Rapides Parish […]

The Fee Trap: Why Alabama’s local governments can’t shake fines and charges

BY: - September 17, 2023

When Alabama needs to pay for services, it turns to fees and general charges, or fines and fees in the criminal justice system. Legislators passed almost 60 bills during this spring’s legislative session directing how local governments may raise revenues or spend money. Many generated money for counties, from fundraising events and lodging taxes to […]

Buttons with anti-death penalty slogans

Amid mass clemency effort, time running out to end death penalty in Louisiana

BY: - September 17, 2023

NEW ORLEANS — Time is running low for more than 50 people on Louisiana’s death row who are seeking clemency as Gov. John Bel Edwards’ term nears its end, say lawyers who have worked on death penalty cases in the state. With pro-capital punishment Attorney General Jeff Landry widely seen as the frontrunner in the […]

Louisiana voluntarily transfers youth from Angola despite appeals court ruling

BY: - September 15, 2023

State officials voluntarily transferred all incarcerated youth Friday from a temporary detention center on the grounds of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola despite an appeals court ruling earlier this week that delayed a deadline for their court-ordered relocation.  According to an Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ) press release, its staff transferred the youth to […]

Entrance to Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola

Appeals court stays order to remove youth from Angola

BY: and - September 14, 2023

NEW ORLEANS — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit on Wednesday halted a federal judge’s order that the state of Louisiana shut down a controversial temporary youth detention center on the grounds of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. The order will pause a deadline for the state Office of Juvenile Justice […]

The exterior of the U.S Supreme Court

Biden administration requests U.S. Supreme Court block order curbing social media contact

BY: - September 14, 2023

The federal government is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block a court order restricting it from communicating with social media companies about posts spreading misinformation. In a petition filed Thursday, President Joe Biden’s administration argues the the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling earlier this month is an example of judicial overreach that would […]