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 […]
OJJ seeks to deny attorneys’ push for more access and information on youth conditions in Angola
The state is attempting to deny advocates from seeking information about the conditions and services being provided to the kids held in the Angola facility. This denial of access is a pattern of behavior from OJJ. Aaron Clark Rizzio, LCCR Co-Executive director states “All of our clients and their families understand the message that OJJ intends to send to them, and they feel it deeply. The children in there feel as if they’re being thrown away, being put in the worst place possible, and being given up on.” Read the full article here
Sending children to Angola increases chances of recidivism
New Orleans pediatric physicians join in the recent op-ed by Demario Davis and Malcolm Jenkins to strongly oppose the relocation of our youth from juvenile detention facilities to Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. Security issues that led to this decision aren’t the fault of the children; they should be given the opportunity to rehabilitate, not be sent to a maximum-security facility designed for adult incarceration. Read the full op-ed by Maya Jones, a pediatric emergency physician, and Jessica Zagory, a pediatric surgeon here
CJ McCollum: Public safety and criminal justice reform go hand in hand
CJ McCollum, New Orleans Pelican, has penned an op-ed that plainly states: “Public safety and criminal justice reform are not mutually exclusive”.  This op-ed highlights the critical juvenile justice advocacy efforts done by Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights. Read his full op-ed here
Pelican Institute for Public Policy, new report recommends smart-on-crime policies that increase public safety and reduce the revolving door in and out of prison.
“Public safety reform is too important not to get right,” and “Decisions should be grounded in facts and data, and reforms should reflect proven policy that increases public safety, reduces crime, and makes the best use of scarce tax-payer dollars. Pelican Institute CEO Daniel Erspamer said in a press release. Read more here
Everyday Violence Against Children
The criminal punishment system targets poor children and children of color for the harshest treatment without addressing the root causes of crime. Malcolm Lloyd, a former juvenile investigator for the Orleans Public Defenders office writes a powerful piece on the modern history of the juvenile justice system and how it has failed our children, and what can be done to change it for the better. Read his powerful piece here
Statement on the Office of Juvenile Justice’s bed shortage
We appreciate the Office of Juvenile Justice’s decision, as the safety and wellbeing of children should be its top priority. The State should not be taking children from their homes and communities if they cannot keep them safe and provide appropriate services. Louisiana is at a critical moment in youth justice. It is time for the State to recognize and acknowledge that the current systems do not work and, in actuality, cause great harm to children. This is a moment for us as a State to turn away from relying on counter-productive prisons for children, and create community based alternatives. […]