Second Chances Project, Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights (LCCR)
The Second Chances Project of the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights (LCCR) was founded on the premise that too often young people in Louisiana’s juvenile prisons do not have access to advocates who can help them make their case for rehabilitation and release. The Second Chances Project advocates for youth in Jefferson, St. Tammany, Orleans, and Washington Parishes who are serving time in secure custody. The Project has four main goals: (1) to reduce the number of youth in secure custody; (2) to vindicate the right of jailed youth to zealous, effective, and caring representation; (3) to empower youth by speaking on behalf of their expressed interests; and (4) to promote the justice system’s use of genuinely rehabilitative, home-based alternatives to juvenile jail. Each Second Chances client is provided with an advocacy team that includes an attorney, a youth advocate, and a social work intern who work together to deliver cross-disciplinary, holistic advocacy – including legal representation at the post-disposition trial and appellate levels, case management, and the development and implementation of comprehensive reentry plans. After meeting with the youth, their family, and relevant facility staff, the advocacy team composes an initial case plan, with six areas of focus: (1) safe and nurturing housing; (2) family/community member supervision and involvement, including mentoring; (3) school and alternative educational enrollment; (4) vocational training and/or job opportunities; (5) any appropriate behavioral and physical health needs; and (6) opportunities for civic engagement and structured out-of-school activities. While clients remain incarcerated, team members will meet with each client at least once a month and maintain regular contact with facility staff to respond to concerns and learn about client progress. When appropriate, the attorney will file a Motion to Modify Disposition, bringing eligible youth back before the sentencing judge seeking release from incarceration. Once youth are released, the advocacy team continues to provide case management in the form of weekly visits with the youth advocate and reentry and parole compliance support.