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Activist group to hold mock jazz funeral outside Swanson Center For Youth

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 10:15 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - A group that wants the Swanson Center for Youth in Monroe shut down plans to hold a mock jazz funeral on Saturday, October 30th.

Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children say they are “mourning the loss of freedom and dreams of incarcerated youths.”

“It’s a New Orleans style mock funeral,” said Executive Director, Gina Womack. “This year, we are adding a trunk-or-treat and press conference. Passing out treats to the young folks, we are also going to deliver treats to the youth who are incarcerated.”

Womack says the goal of the rally is to educate people on the problems that exist within the juvenile justice system in Louisiana.

“Incarceration does not work,” said Womack. “If incarceration worked because Louisiana incarcerates more people per capita than anyone else, we would be in a different place, but we’re not.”

Womack says she believes kids are set up to fail in Louisiana.

“Louisiana is at the bottom of every child-serving performance mechanism,” explained Womack. “We are highest in incarceration, but we are at the bottom of education.”

In a recent interview with KNOE, Governor John Bel Edwards touted the new $26 million facility being built at Swanson. Womack believes that money should go towards preventing incarceration.

“Education has shown us that children fare better if there are more community-based alternatives,” explained Womack. “More mentoring programs and services in the community. It’s cheaper to use alternatives.”

Womack says if the state is committed to profound change, it should look inward.

“It’s time for adults to take the responsibility to do what’s right and best for our children instead of laying the blame on the laps of the children,” Womack told KNOE.

The rally will begin at Noon. The group will convene near Oschner LSU Medical Center down the road from Swanson.

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