Stories of Hope

Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children

New Orleans, Louisiana

Keeping Youth Out of Prison

The Issue: Children in Louisiana imprisoned for mostly non-violent offenses.

More than 2,000 children in Louisiana endured nightmarish conditions when they were imprisoned for mostly non-violent offenses, including acting out in class and petty theft. They experienced physical brutality, emotional abuse, and confinement in facilities with violent criminals—until a decade ago when a group of frustrated people formed Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), a support network for families whose children were entering the justice system. With the belief that these children needed services, not punishment, the FFLIC and other local and national allies advocated for a system that focuses on small, regional facilities that are more home-like and offer rehabilitation.

Their Impact: Troubled youth are receiving early intervention and rigorous support in and out of prison.

The now statewide multi-generational membership organization challenged the state’s conditions of confinement. And they won—sweeping reforms to the state juvenile justice laws and an agreement to close a notoriously brutal secure youth facility. But they didn’t stop there. Today, the FFLIC promotes objective school disciplinary policies, establishes parenting groups and leadership development classes, teaches positive behavioral support, promotes teacher training in conflict resolution, and holds schools accountable to provide a quality education to every student.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development has helped fund the leadership development efforts of Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children.