Home News Center NJJN Members FFLIC and LCCR Keep Up Efforts to Move Youth Out of Dangerous Adult Prison

NJJN Members FFLIC and LCCR Keep Up Efforts to Move Youth Out of Dangerous Adult Prison

November 3, 2022
Courtney M. McSwain

NJJN members Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) and Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights (LCCR) have been working double time to keep youth out of one of the most dangerous and notoriously violent adult prisons in Louisiana. In July, Louisiana Governor John Edwards announced plans to temporarily move youth from Bridge City Center for Youth to the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. The planned move followed a series of failures and problems that have plagued Bridge City Center, including instances of youth escaping the facility.

However, NJJN members FFLIC and LCCR along with other leading advocates are pushing to keep youth out of the Angola adult facility. Advocates emphasize that the psychological trauma kids in the state’s youth facilities have already endured will only deepen if moved to the notoriously dangerous adult facility where they will be surrounded by barbed wire, fences and rooms with floor to ceiling bars.  
“The solution to crime is never more police, more prisons, or stronger sentencing. The solution is stronger and more equitable communities,” said FFLIC’s Co-Founder and Executive Director, Gina Womack in an August press release. “The Governor’s plan will do nothing to address the ongoing serious problems in the Office of Juvenile Justice facilities. What our youth need is therapy, education, community, and healing so that we do not lose another generation of children." 

In March, The Marshall Project published an investigation into the harsh realities kids face in Louisiana's youth correctional facilities, including lengthy periods of solitary confinement, no access to education - a violation of state and federal law - shackles and leg irons, and no human contact. The Marshall Project further reports on teen self-harm and creating holes through cinder blocks as a means to escape the abusive conditions.  
As Womack notes, Louisiana once led the way in investing in youth. In 2003, legislation was passed to create a holistic model of youth care rounded in mental health support, education, community and healing. Yet, the State turned from that pathway towards building more cages and locking up kids. Further, moving kids - mostly Black boys - to the Angola state penitentiary, which was built on a former slave plantation and formerly housed individuals on death row will cause unfathomable psychological trauma.  
During a rally at Jetson Detention Center in August, Shawn Williams, a leader for LCCR said, “They can’t protect grown men. I was up there for 26 years, so I know they not going to protect those little kids,” KLFY.com reported. 

Advocates have held multiple public events to bring light to the Governor's plan to move kids to the adult prison in Angola, including a town hall, press conference and candlelight vigil. Additionally, a lawsuit filed against Governor Edwards and the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice temporarily delayed the transfer, but the judge then denied the emergency motion to stop the plan and the first group of youth were moved in October, according to media reports. The underlying lawsuit is still pending. With this move, advocates in Louisiana continue to fight for a holistic model of care including community-based prevention and fixing the failing education and mental health systems. Anyone wishing to support Louisiana advocates can help by signing the petition to demand an immediate halt to the transfers of youth and creation of a new plan to address the systemic failures of the Office of Juvenile Justice. 
In a released statement after judicial approval of the transfers, Womack stated, "Our children are deserving of the opportunity to build a future outside of prison walls. We will continue our fight to stop Governor Edward’s plans and fiercely advocate for the overall health and safety of Louisiana’s incarcerated children. 


Please stay connected to Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) and Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights (LCCR) to find out how to take action to keep youth out of adult facilities in Louisiana and other youth justice issues.  
>>Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram 

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