News
Calls grow for Louisiana to stop sending kids to adult prison  
NEW ORLEANS (CN) — The American Bar Association can show its disapproval of Louisiana sending children to Angola prison by not doing business in the state, a panelist told the lawyers' organization Thursday afternoon. “ABA can say, ‘We came to Louisiana, and we spent our money, and we learned enough to know we don’t agree with what you’re doing, and we’re not coming back,’” Kristen Rome, co-executive director of the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, suggested during the ABA panel in a French Quarter Marriott. Louisiana State Penitentiary – also known as Angola Prison after the plantation it replaced – is the largest maximum-security adult prison in the U.S., with over 6,000 inmates.
Our youths deserve better than Angola, the most notorious prison in the world
Instead of making reforms, Louisiana has doubled down, and now, incredibly, is moving children in its juvenile justice system into Angola.  As we enter Oscar season and more eyes are on Louisiana, it is time not just to acknowledge the past, but to look for modern solutions for youth who are being warehoused in these horrific conditions.
Meeting people where they are. How a New Orleans group is addressing youth crime
buntu is a South African term meaning I am because we are. Ubuntu Village, a New Orleans-based nonprofit, is building a coalition of families whose lives have been impacted by a myriad of factors, including a lack of community investment compounded by confrontations with the juvenile justice system.
Advocates troubled by racial disparity in Louisiana’s juvenile justice system
Black youth are four times more likely to be detained or committed to juvenile facilities than their white peers, according to the Sentencing Project. “In Baton Rouge, we have a population that is roughly half and half Black and white. One might expect maybe disparate impact on the population maybe you would have 75 percent who are Black. It generally hovers around 95 percent,” said Jack Harrison, director of the Juvenile Defense Clinic at LSU Law Center. “The racial disparity in our area is profound.” Harrison blames law enforcement for the racial disparity.
Teens Are Being Sent to Louisiana’s Angola Prison and Held on Its Former Death Row
Many children in the juvenile justice system are survivors of violence and often have significant mental health needs. These children do not need more punishment; they need professional care and support. Most importantly, they need those around them to make clear that they see their potential for a bright future. This is not only what the law requires, it is what adults in leadership positions owe the next generation. Read the full editorial here
Rashad’s Story
The New York Times shared the stories of 12 kids from all around the country that died as a result of gun violence. What they shared is that they were kids, full of all the big, unformed ideas about the world and their place in it that swell inside any young person.  Black children, especially Black boys, die from gun violence at a rate significantly higher than any other group. For some of them, childhood itself has been transformed by this threat. Read Rashad’s story here
LOUISIANA IMPRISONS CHILDREN IN A FORMER DEATH ROW UNIT. THE KIDS SAY IT HAUNTS THEM.
Last year, the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice began transferring children to Angola, the state’s most notorious prison. Since then, kids say they’ve suffered through horrific conditions and routine mistreatment. Incarcerating children at Angola is antithetical to the OJJ’s duty to help children in their facilities, said Kristen Rome, co-executive director of the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights.  Read the full article here
Teens at Angola facility maced, held in lengthy isolation, youths say in legal filings
Two teens held at a new juvenile lockup in a former death row building at Angola said in court filings that youth there have been pepper sprayed, held in solitary confinement for hours with breaks only for showers and regularly had aggressive run-ins with Department of Corrections guards. read the full article here
Youth held at Angola allege violence from guards, extended lockdown in lawsuit
An incarcerated youth said guards at a controversial juvenile justice facility recently opened on the grounds of Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola have hit young people and used mace multiple times to restrain them. Daniel ,incarcerated youth , said he no longer has access to substance abuse treatment, and Edward complained about the schooling. He said that the building has also gone into lockdown for days at a time, where young people are only let out of their cells for showers. The essential resources owed to kids in their facilities are missing and received at other facilities are missing.  Read the full […]
Louisiana could pay lawyers up to $415,000 to defend putting incarcerated youth at Angola
Gov. John Bel Edwards’ administration has agreed to pay private attorneys hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend his plan to house incarcerated youth at one of the country’s largest maximum-security prisons for adults.  The Office of Juvenile Justice initially hired Butler Snow LLP to cover litigation related to the opening of a juvenile facility at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. The law firm could make up to an additional $415,000 to defend the relocation. On top of the $415,000 it could potentially spend on legal fees, the state also shelled out $550,000 to convert an old prison building into one appropriate for […]