Mayor Cantrell and Juvenile Court Judges exchange pointed letters over social services for juvenile offenders

Mayor Questions for Judges

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - “It was just in the spirit of collaboration and of encouragement because we didn’t create these programs just because,” Mayor Latoya Cantrell said.

Mayor Latoya Cantrell sent a letter to Chief Juvenile Court Judge Candice Anderson last week. The letter details intervention program programs that the Cantrell Administration says it created but doesn’t believe they’re being used as often as they should.

“It was just speaking about programs that are in place that are not being fully utilized, that are created for that reason, so we’re doing the work and we want to make sure that the services are provided are being taken advantaged of,” Mayor Latoya Cantrell said.

The letter stated, ‘The Evening Reporting Center’ launched in December 2019 and there are nine youths participating in the program with a total capacity of 15.’

“Boys Town Louisiana is another program that will take boys and girls and provide them not only with housing but again resources to support them and to move them through the system,” Mayor Latoya Cantrell said.

Juvenile Court Judge Candice Anderson fired off a letter back to Mayor Cantrell saying judges are using the programs, but that the programs must fit the juvenile offender.

Anderson’s letter states, ‘The research is clear. Placing youth and families in ill-suited programming can have the same detrimental effects as detention.’

The Mayor’s letter also addressed scheduling at court.

“We were told that court wasn’t happening on Friday and that was something that was documented. I just wanted to encourage and we want court to again operate five days a week,” Mayor Latoya Cantrell said

Judge Anderson, though, says that isn’t true. She says the court sets hearing and trials along with other matters on Friday, but she says it’s difficult because the new court building only has 4 courtrooms with 5 judges. The Mayor says the letter was sent to simply encourage the judges to be as efficient as possible and utilize all programs.

“Then when you hear the complaining from residents and from the community saying we need more programs, and we’re saying we have programs but we need to ensure the system is working across the board,” Mayor Latoya Cantrell said.

The Judges also pointed out in their letter that after implementing police to hold any arrested youth with current open charges, there was a decrease in car break-ins.

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