August 11, 2014
Equality Louisiana Supports the Youth PROMISE Act (S. 1307/ H.R. 1318)
Dear Senator Landrieu,
As a coalition of more than 25 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and allied organizations in the state of Louisiana, we express our support for the Youth PROMISE Act. Historically, Louisiana is known for one of the worst juvenile justice systems in the country, and this has disproportionately affected the LGBT community.
We know that LGBT youth are overrepresented in the criminal justice system in Louisiana, with one study published in the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law saying that 15 percent of youth in prison identify as LGBT. Higher rates of bullying, harassment, homelessness, policing and family rejection make LGBT youth more likely to be funneled out of schools and into prisons. When LGBT youth enter the prison system, they face increased physical, sexual and psychological abuse and harassment, increased isolation, a lack of services and a lack of understanding of their needs.
We applaud your efforts to counter the school to prison pipeline by sponsoring the Youth PROMISE Act. We know that intervention programs work and decrease recidivism, youth arrests and delinquency. High incarceration rates have torn our community apart, and we commend your efforts to help solve this problem. Thank you once again for being the lead sponsor on the Youth PROMISE Act and for your hard work on this critical issue. We look forward to future correspondence with your office.
Managing Director, Equality Louisiana
 Irvine, Angela. “We’ve Had Three of Them: Addressing the Invisibility of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Gender Non-Conforming Youths in the Juvenile Justice System .” Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 19: 675-701. http://www.nccdglobal.org/sites/default/files/content/weve-had-three-of-them.pdf
 Ware, Wesley. “Locked Up and Out: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth in Louisiana’s Juvenile Justice System.” Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana. http://jjpl.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/locked-up-and-out.pdf