By Natasha Robin | WVUE | February 24, 2021
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams announced his new Juvenile Division Chief as well as his plan moving forward on how to handle juvenile offenders.
Williams announced Tenee Felix as the new Juvenile Division Chief. Felix was formally an attorney for the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights. That’s essentially the Public Defender’s Office for Juvenile Court.
Now, Chief Felix will head up the Juvenile District Attorney’s Office.
When asked if that would be a conflict, Williams said the office will follow the rules if any conflicts might arise. He says cases that Chief Felix was previously involved in will be handled by another department head.
Williams says rehabilitation of juvenile offenders will be top priority moving forward. He says the goal is to stop the school to prison pipeline. He plans to do that by getting juvenile offenders into intervention programs to prevent them from becoming repeat offenders.
He also says no juvenile will be charged as an adult.
Williams says he hears the public’s frustration with juvenile crime, but he says the previous administration did not seek rehabilitation programs, only detention.
“So what we’ve done is said that a kid either goes to jail or left to the same devices. We have not tried programs. We have not had interventions. This process started January 11th,” says D.A. Jason Williams.
“Really that’s the responsibility of a judge when it comes to sentencing in all of this, not the prosecutor’s office and not the defense,” says Rafael Goyeneche
Williams says there will be times when his office will push for detention. Meanwhile, he says it’s important now for every member of the Criminal Justice System to work together.
Copyright 2021 WVUE. All rights reserved.