BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — District Attorney Tony Clayton is clearing up the air about why he’s adamantly backing the repeal of the “Raise the Age” law, which sends 17-year-olds to adult prison

“Today, if any one of you were to have read the paper, you would have seen that we had a little showdown yesterday at the Capitol,” said Clayton. “We have a serious problem in this state. One of the little statisticians said yesterday, out of every hundred murder cases, five of them are done by juveniles, and I just think that’s a pathological lie.”

According to Clayton, the youth are largely responsible for the increase in violent crimes across the state. He said pushing for this repeal isn’t about locking up every 17-year-old. 

“But if you’re 17 years old and you arm yourself with a weapon and unjustifiably suck the life out of another human being, I got something for you, you need to go to prison,” said Clayton. “If you got a kid on False River and he does something stupid, drinking, he’s going to get a break, I’m not going to prosecute that 17- year-old, but if he arms himself with that gun and drags a lady and drags her arm off, he will die in Angola under my watch, period.”

While everyone may not agree, Clayton believes this corrective measure will cost taxpayers less, and ultimately curb crime.  

“I think we’re going to be met with an uphill battle going to the House,” said Clayton. “It costs 26 dollars a day to house a 17-year-old as an adult for murder, 600 dollars a day to house a juvenile in another state.”

Many of the examples he presents are of minority youth, even referencing rap music as a reason for the increase in violence.

“And look at it, watch the video, this is what I’m faced with every day,” said Clayton. “They’re dissing one another on that rap music ‘cause they believe their disciples of NBA.”

Clayton, a minority himself, says this isn’t about throwing away any section or sector of the community.

“I’ll just be frank with you, those kids look like me, so I’m not here to throw away any kid, but I’m here to make sure they’re held accountable,” said Clayton.