Fellow citizens of Caddo Parish:

I am Ree Casey-Jones and I am proud to serve you as the Chief Judge in Caddo Juvenile Court. Every day I see the impact of poverty on my hometown. I see the results of trauma and abuse in families. I see what happens when multiple generations don’t have good role models for parenting. In short, I see all of the ingredients that add up to increased juvenile crime. I can assure you, I work hard every day to stop this trend.

As a Judge, what I need are options. Some children need counseling. Some children need drug treatment. Some need better role models. Unfortunately, some children need all of these options, but they need them from inside juvenile detention. It’s tragic, but too many children are committing violent crimes and the lessons they need to learn will need to be taught in a more restricted facility. It’s my job to decide which children need what services. I try to allow children to learn these lessons at home, with a probation officer supervising their movement and behavior. But, many must be more restricted until they learn those lessons.

I need more tools in my toolbelt. I need your support for the criminal justice millage on the ballot for your consideration on October 14th. The purpose of the millage is to reduce crime by preventing it in younger children and providing law enforcement options like more probation officers and more detention beds if necessary.

Some people may be concerned with the language of the millage. Some say it’s too broad. But, it’s broad for a reason. Our needs may change over 15 years, so we want the language of the millage to allow us to change our programs. Mental health, workforce development and blight are meant to be examples of the spectrum of prevention options. Equipping and operating criminal and juvenile justice systems is meant to be examples of providing more probation officers and more space in juvenile detention. Together, these are meant to show you the voters that we want to fight crime on all fronts.

The language was simply meant to remove any restrictions on ourselves in the future.  If we said that it was only to add enforcement options, but not prevention, we would be restricted from offering prevention services. The language of the millage needs to allow us as a system to adapt to a changing criminal environment.

The Judges and staff in the juvenile justice system need these options to continue to fight crime on all fronts. Please consider helping us by supporting the millage on October 14th.