As of Monday, April, 6, 15 children have tested positive for COVID-19 in three of the state’s youth prisons, according to the Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ). The majority of these cases are in the Bridge City Center for Youth just outside of New Orleans – one of the national epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak.
In response to this growing crisis, LCCR and 27 other advocacy organizations and health professionals are urging Governor Edwards to issue an emergency executive order authorizing the immediate release of children in OJJ’s custody.
“Imagine if the state allowed one school to stay open, even when students began testing positive for the virus,” said Aaron Clark-Rizzio, LCCR executive director. “It would expose hundreds of kids, staff, and community members. That’s exactly what is happening with our youth prisons right now and Governor Edwards, along with judges and prosecutors, has the power to stop it.”