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Juveniles expecting to transfer to Angola will wait a little longer

1 month 5 days 1 hour ago Tuesday, August 23 2022 Aug 23, 2022 August 23, 2022 8:21 PM August 23, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Twenty-five juveniles locked up at the Bridge City Center for Youth will stay put a little longer.

Tuesday, the Governor's office told a judge they will wait until Sept. 15 to transfer them to Angola. The fight to keep the young criminals in a juvenile detention center and away from a state prison continues.

"We're supposed to just close our eyes and accept the fact that were going to take kids from a juvenile facility and shove them to the Louisiana State Penitentiary," Attorney Ron Haley said.

In July, the Governor announced the Office of Juvenile Justice would move 25 teens there following a riot and other break outs at the Bridge City Center for Youth. The transfer to Angola is a temporary solution until the Jetson Facility in Baker can be renovated.

Temporary or not, civil rights attorneys blasted the idea.

"One thing that was very evident is how haphazardously this has been put together," attorney Ron Haley said.

Last week Haley, along with others, filed a class-action lawsuit claiming there is not a clear plan in place on how the teens will stay separated from adult offenders or how their needs will be met.

"Their educational needs, their psychological needs, their mentorship, their education. All we got was crickets, we didn't get anything at all," Haley said.

Now the state has a tight deadline to release that information.

On Tuesday, a judge ordered the state and OJJ to submit a clear plan by Wednesday. Juveniles will not be transferred to Angola until later next month.

Haley says the entire process has been traumatizing for those expecting to be moved.

"To them, it doesn't matter if the closest adult camp is a mile half away, all they know is they are going to big boy jail at that point in time. The risk that associate with that, the horror stories they have heard with it," Haley said.

A spokesperson with the OJJ released this statement;

The governor and secretary of OJJ have spoken on multiple occasions about the need to transfer some juvenile offenders temporarily to the Angola facility, which is the best option available at this time. In addition, they are also working on more permanent long term solutions. The issues are complex and officials are working diligently to develop a plan that will meet the needs of the youth, support them in their rehabilitation and ensure their safety as well as that of the staff and community. This is a work in progress and more details will be released as they are finalized.

The next hearing in this case is in two weeks.

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