Getting accurate information on juvenile crimes remains a challenging endeavor. This happens for many reasons, including confidentiality requirements for organizations and reporting systems that have problems with consistency across local, state and federal jurisdictions.
One report reveals that at least in one area of Louisiana juvenile crimes show a disturbing upward trend.
Increase in serious crimes in Baton Rouge
WBRZ news quotes area prosecutors as identifying an increase in violent juvenile crimes in 2021. Information from a WBRZ investigation confirmed this, saying that juveniles arrested for murder climbed in the early months of the year. Authorities charged at least eight separate juveniles with crimes related to fatalities or injuries caused by shootings.
Anecdotal evidence points to more juvenile arrests that involve guns. Observers point to the responsibilities of parents and other adults to get a handle on the whereabouts of young people and their activities. Some states allow for criminal liability for parents related to a child’s action, but Louisiana laws typically only allow charges for negligent supervision.
Additional pressure on the juvenile court system
These serious charges require difficult decisions for many in the legal profession. For example, a young person charged with a violent crime, including murder, could face charges as an adult or as a juvenile. If charged and convicted as a juvenile, the offender could see release in just a few years. If charged as an adult, the offender could face a much longer prison term.
The increased complexity of the juvenile cases for violent crimes also can lead to backlogs in the system. Some observers believe that the juvenile court system does not have the resources to handle a large number of these cases.