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After the FBI revised its crime data collection system in 2021, nearly 40% of law enforcement agencies across the country didn't successfully submit crime data to the federal database.  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
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Dear Friends,

When we published our investigation in March into Louisiana’s harshest juvenile lockup, advocates and families of teens held at the facility were outraged and frustrated. Louisiana had no laws governing the use of solitary confinement in youth facilities, and the state’s juvenile justice agency was routinely ignoring its own policies. Kids at the Acadiana Center for Youth at St. Martinville were held in solitary for weeks on end, with no access to school, fresh air, human contact, or, in some cases, even light.

Today, I have news to share: Louisiana’s governor has signed the state's first law to place limits on the use of solitary confinement for youth. This historic change comes after our investigation, powerful testimony to lawmakers from people who experienced solitary, and a state audit spurred by two teen suicides at another Louisiana lockup.

Until now, “secure care” facilities — the state’s euphemism for youth prisons — had no outside rules or oversight. Now, they have strict standards prohibiting solitary confinement for longer than 24 hours, and requiring facilities to provide teens with basics like education, access to natural light, and contact with their parents and attorneys during that time. The law says youth isolation is only allowed to prevent imminent danger of harm, and requires mental health professionals and other staff to regularly check in and help the young person.

And — unlike in the past — it will enable lawyers for youth to take the state agency to court if it violates the law. The bill’s sponsor credited our reporting with helping to spur the legislation forward: “It showed we need to make some changes.”

You can read our latest story, or join us Friday on Twitter Spaces as we discuss our reporting. (You can tune into the live audio event without a Twitter account, too.)

Thank you for reading,

Beth Schwartzapfel
Reporter
The Marshall Project

P.S. If you'd like to help make more investigations like this possible, please consider donating to The Marshall Project today. All new gifts are currently being matched, up to $50,000, by our generous board member Jim Leitner.

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