In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that sentencing a juvenile to life without parole is unconstitutional.
In 2016, Andrew Hundley was the first juvenile lifer to receive parole in Louisiana. He started the Parole Project to help other juvenile lifers like himself get a second chance.
Louisiana State Penitentiary is home to many juvenile lifers who are ready for the day they get to the see the other side of the gate --and Parole Project waiting for them.
“Our mission is to empower change for our clients we. We provide legal representation, advocacy and reentry support for individuals who have served long prison sentences," Executive Director of the Parole Project, Andrew Hundley said. "We advocate for their release. When we find a candidate who are deserving, we support them and make sure they reach their full potential upon release."
On the walls of the Parole Project law office is a list of over 200 names of juveniles lifers that are still in prison, waiting for Parole Project to help secure their release for them, like they have for others.
“They are like a supportive family, a second family. If you can’t produce any family or family members, you can always be with project parole. They are gunna be there to help you," Parol Project client, Glen Livas said. "They are like a second hand holding you up. If you fall, you have something to fall back on.”
The organization helps parolees get back on their feet after decades in prison. One of the most important steps in this reintegration is enrolling them in driving school, so they can get their license.
“You know we send people to prison and we sort of have this idea of them being the worst of the worst. They are in orange jumpsuits. They are breaking rocks in prison, and we forget about them," Hundley said. "But 95% of people who go to prison are coming out one day. So, it behooves all of us to be concerned about what these individuals are doing while they are incarceration. And once they are released, what kind of opportunities are they getting to be successful."
In the last two years, Parole Project has helped roughly 60 people, and they are happy to say that none of them have gone back to prison.
Parole Project is always open to donations and volunteers to ensure their clients have the best opportunities to become productive citizens.
If you are interested in Parole Project you can go to their website https://www.paroleproject.org/.