Children’s Rights Joins Amicus Brief Highlighting Louisiana’s Mistreatment and Incarceration of Children at the Angola State Penitentiary

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Camilla Jenkins

cjenkins@childrensrights.org

917-971-1784

BATON ROUGE, La. —Children’s Rights has joined scores of other advocates in signing an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center and Fair Fight Initiative on behalf of children and young adults confined in Angola Prison—the notorious maximum security prison in Louisiana long known for human rights abuses, unconstitutional conditions and punitive methods. Youth, who are being held in a former death row wing of Angola, are subject to mechanical restraints, long bouts of solitary confinement, limited mental health care, and little to no access to an education.

Adolescents, whose brains are still developing, are uniquely vulnerable to and adversely affected by incarceration in adult facilities. Youth are 36 times more likely to die by suicide in an adult facility than in a juvenile detention placement. Within Angola, a significant percentage of children enter the facility with serious mental health needs. The harms of adult confinement fall most heavily on Black youth, who are six times more likely to be incarcerated than their white peers. The mental, physical, and emotional trauma that children experience when admitted to adult facilities can cause them irreparable harm.

Marissa C. Nardi, Lead Counsel at Children’s Rights, released the following statement:

“All children deserve to grow up in safe, supportive environments. Yet Louisiana locks children in a place that is the furthest thing from that: the former death row wing of one of the most dangerous adult prisons in the country, where children face extended solitary confinement, pepper spray, and other abuses without adequate mental health care or education.

“It is the stuff of the nightmares of adults, let alone children who are more vulnerable to these harms. We stand with the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Fair Fight Initiative in the fight to free children from Angola. It’s time to wake up from this nightmare once and for all.”

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Children’s Rights is a national advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of children living in or impacted by America’s child welfare, juvenile legal, immigration, education, and healthcare systems. We use civil rights impact litigation, advocacy and policy expertise, and public education to hold governments accountable for keeping kids safe and healthy. Our work centers on creating lasting systemic change that will advance the rights of children for generations. For more information, please visit childrensrights.org.