2024 Design-Your-Own Fellowship Applications are Open

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Headshot of Serena Hughley

Serena Hughley

  • Hosted by Louisiana Center for Children's Rights
  • Sponsored by Latham & Watkins LLP
  • Service location New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Law school Harvard Law School
  • Issue area Children/Youth, Criminal Justice Reform
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Serena (she/her) will support detained and imprisoned children in Louisiana by challenging the state’s plan to transfer children to adult prisons and advocating for improved conditions of confinement for children through direct representation, strategic litigation, and educational training.

In Louisiana, district attorneys can prosecute children as young as 14 in adult court for certain serious offenses. Recently, state leadership introduced a plan to transfer additional children from Bridge City Center for Youth to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola Prison. This issue predominately impacts Black children, who make up 80% of the children incarcerated in Louisiana.

After witnessing the incarceration of community members and loved ones in her childhood, Serena embraced the promise of a future where children receive support in their communities rather than confinement in jails and prisons. This promise motivates her commitment to children’s rights and reintegration.

Fellowship Plans

For children to return to their communities, they need the resources to thrive there. In adult prisons, children are more likely to experience abuse and ultimately recommit. During this Fellowship, Serena aims to challenge the transfer of children to adult prisons and the movement of juvenile cases to the adult system. She also seeks to advocate for the safety, civil rights, and rehabilitation of children in adult prisons.

Many children are denied the resources to flourish at home or in school. Instead, they are pipelined into a system that makes it even harder to succeed. I am honored to advocate for the rights of the children who navigate this system.

Serena Hughley /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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