Court hearing deals with transfer of youth inmates to Angola

A federal judge continued hearing arguments over whether it is the best and safest decision to move teenagers from The Bridge City Center for Youth to Angola.
Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 11:13 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2022 at 7:19 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A federal judge continued hearing arguments in Baton Rouge on Wednesday, Sept. 7, over whether it is the best and safest decision to move teenagers from The Bridge City Center for Youth to Angola.


“I think this was a knee-jerk political reaction to the escape that took place July 17th,” said attorney Ron Haley. “This is not to say that the youth should not be in a secured place facility. But that secured place facility should absolutely not be an adult facility, let alone, the notorious Louisiana State Penitentiary.”

An Angola officer testified the teens would be separated from the adult inmates and housed in the old death row building in single cell windows.

A child psychologist testified that those living situations are not the best for the teens.

“These are not rooms, and the psychologist who testified today had grave concerns in her expert opinion as a child psychologist about what even the fear of going to a place like that can do to kids,” says attorney Nancey Rosenbloom.

Attorneys did bring in an anonymous teenager who is currently being housed at The Bridge City Center for Youth. That 17-year-old told the court he is scared about the pending transfer.

“He’s a kid who just turned 17. He’s terrified. He is trying to be brave. He was up there trying to look brave, but he is scared. He is having nightmares. He is having symptoms, rare symptoms like pulling out his hair, so it comes out,” added Rosenbloom.

Another concern brought up was whether or not the facility would be able to handle medical needs to treat the teens.

“That medical facility is nowhere near ready, nowhere near. If they had everything they wanted in there, it is nowhere near ready to be completed by the time these kids are to be shipped off,” said attorney Ron Haley.

“Right now, OJJ has carte blanche to spend whatever it takes to get death row ready for children, when everybody knows that it will never happen,” said attorney David Utter. “You shouldn’t put kids on our former death row. Why not put those resources in the Bridge City Center?”

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