Federal judge won’t block plan to move youth offenders to Angola

A federal judge won’t block the plan to move two dozen incarcerated teens to Angola, according to a report by The Advocate newspaper on Friday, Sept. 24.
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 9:20 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 24, 2022 at 10:17 AM CDT

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A federal judge won’t block the plan to move two dozen incarcerated teens to Angola, according to a ruling issued on Friday, Sept. 23.

In the 64-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick said she was not a fan of seeing young inmates transferred to Angola. However, she concluded there was no better alternative.

“The prospect of putting a teenager to bed at night in a locked cell behind razor wire surrounded by swamps at Angola is disturbing,” Dick wrote. “Some of the children in OJJ’s care are so traumatized and emotionally and psychologically disturbed that OJJ is virtually unable to provide a secure care environment.

The inmates would be housed more than a mile away from any adult prisoners and segregated from them at all times.

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Friday’s ruling was in response to a civil lawsuit filed in Baton Rouge on behalf of a juvenile inmate identified as Alex A. The suit against Edwards, OJJ deputy secretary Bill Sommers, and Department of Public Safety and Corrections secretary James LeBlanc sought a temporary restraining order against the plan and an injunction to block it permanently.

Youth justice advocates are holding a news conference on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol to demand more than just a pause on transferring youth violent

Gov. John Bel Edwards pitched the transfer plan in July as an effort to stop violence at Bridge City Detention Center.

At this time, there is no set date on when the moves might happen.

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