Orleans Parish DA announces appointment to address juvenile crime – WDSU New Orleans
Orleans Parish DA announces appointment to address juvenile crime
spring, You see Good morning. One of first recognize and thank uh, my president. Even Ashley of O. P s be no public schools. Dr. Keyshawn Webster, executive director of the Juvenile Justice Intervention Center. Pastor Pat Watson, Family Center of Hope Melissa Sawyer, My good friend, CEO of Youth Empowerment Project Brie Anderson, co Founders of Daughters Beyond Incarceration Also really grateful Toe have our hardworking assistant District attorneys in juvenile court standing with us today. Samantha Maroni, Lisa Schneider, Penny Kissinger I didn’t see them not is right there the Nahda Boutin. From our very first day in office, one of our top priorities was to deliver justice for our young people and to dismantle the school to prison pipeline and bring safety to our community. Our first meeting was with the juvenile Court judges to talk about ways of increasing the use and availability of our diversion program, Uh, and to provide mawr intervention services for our young people. We have engaged with our faith leaders to ask for their support in helping to decrease truancy and to provide even mawr intervention services. We’ve engaged with and sat with and gotten a tour of the family Center of hope with Pastor Pat Watson to get detailed briefings about what’s working and what’s not working in terms of delivering services to our young people and figure out ways of how we can expand that throughout the community. As part of my transition into office, we formed a working group of experts to specifically target dismantling the school to prison pipeline. Frederick Douglass told us a long time ago, and we have still failed to listen that it is easier to build strong boys and girls and to try to repair broken men and women. We’ve already taken a very strong position on a number of criminal legal system practices that are impacting our youth, for example, no longer housing our kids in adult jails or trying them in adult court. This team is committed to working hard every single day to hold our young people accountable. Let me say that again. I wanna make sure that Travis gets this right. We This team is committed to working every single day toe, hold our young people accountable, but in appropriate ways inappropriate ways. We know that prosecution is not enough. The idea that you can go to jail or you just go back to the streets with the same tools you had before. That is not fixing anything. We all, whether you have Children or not, whether you like Children or not, we all have a responsibility to our kids so that they can live up and out their God given abilities. This is about seeing the humanity and the potential in people and doing the hard work. It is easy to just point to increase arrest. That’s a very easy soundbite. But we have to commit ourselves to the hard work of actually changing lives, dealing with young people in broken homes, working to make sure that a kid’s first visit to this building is there on Lee visit to this building or their last visit to this building. And when a young person is arrested, we have to make sure that rehabilitation is all of our top priorities. Now, while we’re committed to doing the hard work of rehabilitating our youth, we absolutely here and understand the public frustration related to juvenile crime, specifically the car burglars we’ve heard a lot about. Well, we’ve already begun taking action on, and we’re gonna working with the police chief and other stakeholders to make sure that we stem these crimes working with Chief Ferguson and his leadership, and we have both committed ourselves and our organizations to coming up with systemic strategic ways of addressing specifically car burglars and juvenile violence. When we talk about car burglars, however, we often talk about, we often fail to talk about the adults involved in this organized activity. They’re organized rings working from Plaquemines, ST Tammany, Orleans and Jefferson all in the same day, all at the leadership off adults who don’t get prosecuted. We’re going to begin to meticulously organize investigations in these rings to make sure that we hold the adults accountable who are putting our young people into this life of crime. Kids have not changed. I’ve heard my pastor Fred Luter, say this a lot. Kids have not changed. Parents have changed and it is time for all of us to intervene in meaningful ways that decreased criminal activity, reduce repeat offenses and hold adults accountable who are pushing and luring young people into lives of crime. As we begin to establish new priorities and hire the best assistant D. A s for our juvenile division like these folks behind me, we knew we would have to have the right person leading this work to ensure that our youth are getting the support they need as they come through their system. And I’m very proud to announce my appointment for the juvenile division chief of Orleans Parish today, Felix Chief Felix is a respected youth advocate who has spent her entire career of nearly 20 years in the service of Children. She is absolutely the right person to advance our work of delivering justice in this space and increasing safety in this city. She Felix received her bachelor of arts in psychology and biology from Boston University, where she spent her free time volunteering as a mentor for At At Risk Kids. She graduated from loyal University College of Law in 2006, and while attending law school, she was a student practitioner with Loyalist Family Law Clinic and served on the boards. Loyola’s public interest law group. After Hurricane Katrina, she participated with volunteered with loyalist Katrina Law Clinic following her passion of working with kids, Chief Felix joined the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights as a staff attorney in 2009. She’s also you you all may remember her face from, uh, running for juvenile court judge toe haven’t even larger impact on kids lives. And she ran on a very specific, an important platform, holding kids accountable in developmentally appropriate ways with fairness and humanity rooted in all of her decisions and work to working with criminal legal stakeholders to create effective programming for young people. Three. Understanding that childhood trauma can be and is typically a risk factor for violence and that interventions must be effective while addressing that trauma and for advocating form or resource is in the community. Investing in young people on the front end to treat and deal with Children who have experienced trauma in their lives so they never come in contact with the juvenile court system. I am reminded every time I come to this building and I will keep bringing in this instance up of a young person who received all of the resource is in weight of the criminal legal system when he made a poor decision. But when he was present, when his uncle took the lives of two of his siblings and then his own life in front of him, he received nothing from the city. They didn’t even call his teachers to tell them what had happened to him the night before. So that is what we have to do. We have to get in front of the problem to make sure that we get the best out of our young people. Trauma can touch a number of young people’s lives, and with proper interventions, they can come through it successfully. But when we ignored, we see it play out in court. So in order for us to create real change in this city and in the lives of young people, we must build a team of the brightest and best local and national talent to create this rial reform. With Chief Felix and the team behind us, I believe we’re gonna have the best team in this country to deal with young people. In addition to having the right leadership, it is important that we’re connecting with community partners to ensure that we’re making riel lasting thoughtful reforms in the lives of young people. And I am extremely grateful Toe have the support of the strong and dedicated partners behind me, so many of whom are committed to supporting our young people and have been doing this work for a very long time with not a lot of resource is all of us working hand in hand is how we’re going to change this city and change the lives of young people together. We are working on programming. We are actively and aggressively looking for new money, not just from the city, not just from the state. We’re looking for national money, uh, dollars from philanthropy, grant funding. And we’re already partnering local Children’s Hospital. New Orleans public schools are strong local nonprofits, the D. A s office going after money so we can work together to come up with plans that will outlive, uh, school board term or D A’s term, because we’ve gotta look beyond four years and six years. We’ve gotta look at where our young people are gonna be 10 years from now. 15 years from now, we all know that the impact of Hurricane Katrina played out 10 15 years after that one incident. So, together with these folks behind me, we are committed to making these really reforms to creating a safer, fairer criminal legal system for our young people and consequently a safer community for all of us. So when we take care of all of our kids, whether they belong to us or not, we do the job well. So at this time, I am really, really proud to, uh, announce and introduce Chief today. Feelings Welcome board. So let me begin by saying thank you District Attorney Williams for the opportunity to serve our city and our youth in this role. I’m excited to have the opportunity to bring my passion for working with young people and seeing justice through the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office. I’m also grateful for the community partners that are standing in support today. Your role is critical in helping us deliver justice for our youth. Your programs, your areas of expertise and passion. Help us fuel the vehicle that keeps us moving forward in this work as the d. A. Mentioned, this work truly requires a team of dedicated people, and I’m glad to have all of you as partners as we move forward. Last but not least, I’m thankful to all of the assistant district attorneys and your hard work. Um, and your teamwork. Samantha. Lisa Penny de Nada. Thank you. I’m sincerely appreciative of your hard work and your teamwork, and I look forward to the great work that we’re going to do as a team. The work for juvenile justice is immediate, and it needs swift action. Since I began last week, I’ve hit the ground identifying ways to elevate the juvenile division and engaging people across the city To understand how the juvenile division can partner with other organizations. I’ve begun working with my colleagues in the district attorney’s office to discuss partnerships and funding opportunities. I have engaged community diversion programs like Melissa Sawyer and the Youth Empowerment Project Team to ensure that we’re fully taking advantage of the resource is that they’re offering to our Children. I’ve been meeting with impactful program leaders, UM toe, understand how the juvenile division can partner and support thes community organizations. I’ve begun also meeting with community leaders who are interested in creating programs that are going to support our youth. I have set up meetings with our alternative to detention partners. I’m also working to improve trainings, um, for the juvenile division assistant district attorneys, because we wanna make sure that we are remaining knowledgeable and prepared as we move forward. My priority as D A, Williams said, is to make sure that a juveniles first time in this court system is there only time in the court system. I believe that with the leadership of D. A. Williams with the assistant district attorneys and with our community partners, we can achieve that goal. As a proud parent of a little boy, I recognize that parents are an integral part of this process. We need our parents engaged. We need them engaged and committed to making sure that our young people are remaining on the right path. We believe in parental accountability because we know that the influence that a parent has on a child is like none other. We’re grateful for the parents who are engaged, and we look forward to continuing toe work with the parents of our youth. With that, I would like to welcome one of our great community advocates who also understands the importance of the role of the parent in this work that we’re doing. Please receive Reverend Pat Watson, who is the director of Family Center for Hope and of the Evening Reporting Center, which is one of our alternative to detention programs. Thank you
Orleans Parish DA announces appointment to address juvenile crime
The Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office announced their choice for the leader of its Juvenile Division. District Attorney Jason Williams announced that Tenee Felix will lead his juvenile division.Felix recently ran unsuccessfully for a judgeship for New Orleans Juvenile Court. Juvenile crime has been a hot-button issue in New Orleans. In his first week in office, Williams made the decision to transfer the bulk of violent crime cases involving teenagers back to Juvenile Court.His predecessor, Leon Cannizzaro, made efforts to try juveniles age 15, 16 and 17 charged with high-profile violent crimes as adults. In 2019, Cannizzaro called juvenile crime the “biggest local crime issue” the city faced.The policy change from Williams lines up with his campaign platform of criminal justice reform. His plan is heavily based on putting pressure on the city of New Orleans, which operates the Juvenile Justice Intervention Center, to provide more resources to at-risk youth along with Juvenile Court judges being harder on repeat offenders.
The Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office announced their choice for the leader of its Juvenile Division.
District Attorney Jason Williams announced that Tenee Felix will lead his juvenile division.
Felix recently ran unsuccessfully for a judgeship for New Orleans Juvenile Court.
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Juvenile crime has been a hot-button issue in New Orleans. In his first week in office, Williams made the decision to transfer the bulk of violent crime cases involving teenagers back to Juvenile Court.
His predecessor, Leon Cannizzaro, made efforts to try juveniles age 15, 16 and 17 charged with high-profile violent crimes as adults. In 2019, Cannizzaro called juvenile crime the “biggest local crime issue” the city faced.
The policy change from Williams lines up with his campaign platform of criminal justice reform. His plan is heavily based on putting pressure on the city of New Orleans, which operates the Juvenile Justice Intervention Center, to provide more resources to at-risk youth along with Juvenile Court judges being harder on repeat offenders.