MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — Recently a senate committee advanced a bill to repeal the raise the age law. The bill seeks trial juveniles as adults for committing more serious crimes. Ouachita Parish Sheriff Jay Russell says the repealing of the bill could lower crime rates for juveniles.
Jay Russell, ”If there is no punishment for violent offenders, it spreads quick through that world in the crime world’s going hey why don’t we just ratch it up a notch and do another violent crime and another violent crime.”
The bill will allow seventeen-year-olds to be trialed as adults for committing violent crimes. Sheriff Russell says that local juvenile detention centers are not built to house large numbers of juveniles.
Jay Russell, “It used to be that we charged all seventeen-year-olds unless it was a status offense and they’d all go to Ouachita Correctional Center ,so now they’re going to Green Oaks instead which is putting a burden on Green Oaks because they weren’t built for that law, they weren’t built to house that many seventeen-year-olds at one time.”
Russell says that sheriff’s near and far are looking for facilities to place violent offenders, and that the bill may allow juvenile centers to become less crowded.
Jay Russell, ”Sheriffs around the state are looking outside of the state to house violent offenders seventeen year olds right now because they can’t put them in the regular prisons across the state, so it is getting to be a real problem as far as housing seventeen-year-olds as juveniles. ”
The district attorney’s office could not be reached for a comment at this time.