The state of Louisiana is considering transferring at least 20 minors incarcerated in its juvenile correction system to be housed on death row. The state alleges these children are amongst its most problematic incarcerated minors, and that placing them on death row is in line with government obligations to rehabilitate juvenile offenders. Lana Charles, who has worked to provide arts programs in Louisiana’s juvenile justice system for 15 years, joins Rattling the Bars to explain the situation of incarcerated youth in her state. Luliana “Lana” Charles has worked with youth for over 15 years in the capacity of the arts, enrichment and […]
Inside Story travels to Louisiana, where we find a community group protesting the state’s decision to move some youth to Angola, a notorious prison for adults.
Teens Are Being Sent to Louisiana’s Angola Prison and Held on Its Former Death Row
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.
Children held at the Louisiana State Penitentiary—better known as the notorious Angola prison—have been locked in their cells for days at a time, only allowed to leave to shower, according to a 15-year-old who was detained at the unit. During his time there, he says guards twisted his arm and sprayed him and others with mace.   
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