One day last summer, 17-year-old Alex learned, while watching the news, that kids detained at the juvenile facility where he was living were slated to be transferred to the Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola. Alex was overcome by fear and couldn’t sleep. While waiting to be taken to the notoriously violent adult, maximum-security prison, he started pulling out his hair.
In October, Louisiana acted on its decision and transferred the first group of children to Angola — without providing advance notice to them, their parents, guardians, or lawyers. The ACLU, where I work, represents Alex (who is using a pseudonym because he is underage) and several other young people in a lawsuit against the state of Louisiana, challenging this inhumane transfer of children to Angola.