Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana Awards $75,000 Grant to teen Court of Avoyelles Parish 4/5/2019

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Program educates youth on the judicial system and provides second chance for juvenile offenders

Marksville, La. – (April 4, 2019) – The Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana awarded the Teen Court of Avoyelles Parish a $75,000 grant in a check presentation on Friday, March 31 in order to guarantee funding stability for the program. Teen Court has made a difference in the lives of many young people in Avoyelles Parish over the past 22 years by offering an alternative form of court proceedings for juvenile offenders as well as law-related education for adolescents throughout the community.

“The Teen Court program not only provides juveniles with a second chance for a clean record, but it also teaches adolescents about the judicial process,” said Marshall Pierite, chairman of the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana. “This program is an excellent example of how we, as a community, can turn problems into solutions. We are very proud to support this great program.”

The grant will be dispensed in sums of $15,000 across five years and will support the overall operations of the program.

“We are extremely grateful for the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe’s investment in Teen Court and in the Avoyelles Parish overall,” said Donna Desoto with Teen Court of Avoyelles. “Because of this generous donation, we will be able to make a significant impact on even more young people in our community, whether that involves turning their lives around or sparking interest in the judicial system.”

Through Teen Court, eligible juvenile defendants, who were arrested by a law enforcement entity in Avoyelles Parish, enter a plea of admission for their first misdemeanor charge. The Avoyelles Parish District Attorney’s Office then agrees not to prosecute the individual and allows the youth to be diverted to Teen Court for sentencing. In addition to giving juvenile offenders a second chance at a clean record, adolescents are also able to gain law-related experience by serving as jurors, attorneys and bailiffs in Teen Court trials.