Last Tuesday, July 19, Governor John Bel Edwards announced a plan to move youth from Bridge City juvenile prison to Angola State Prison for adults.
This inhumane, egregious, and dangerous move is in direct contrast with the Youth Master Plan vision, goals, and solutions, specifically those outlined in Safety & Justice and named by the Youth Advisory Board of CYPB.
Youth Master Plan Solution SJ4: Adopt developmentally appropriate positive behavior interventions that are healing-centered, focusing on compassion and resilience, throughout community programs, schools, the juvenile justice system, and other settings.
CALL TO ACTION:
Youth justice advocacy organization and Youth Master Plan Steering Committee Member Families & Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) is asking supporters to take action now by:
- signing this petition
- lifting up the issue thru your networks using the messages below
Share ALL of the following messages + tag @fflicla and the governor (@louisiana_gov on Facebook and Instagram, @louisianagov on Twitter)
--> Children don't belong in Angola! Housing children there demonstrates the Gov’s lack of understanding of developmentally-appropriate rehabilitation and commitment to dismantling systems of racism and oppression. Sign the petition! https://bit.ly/NoKidsInAngola
--> I oppose the plan to house youth in Angola! Punitive approaches that expose youth to additional violence and abuse don’t work and only aggravate their existing trauma! Sign the petition! https://bit.ly/NoKidsInAngola
--> The plan to house youth in Angola is cruel and outrageous! Youth need safe, healthy environments and rehabilitation. Instead, the state continues to ignore the needs of young people and perpetuate a cycle of harm. Sign the petition! https://bit.ly/NoKidsInAngola
HERE’S WHAT WE KNOW:
Housing youth in the same facilities as adult inmates is in violation of children’s human rights and safety. Angola State Prison is considered the U.S.’s largest maximum-security prison, is known to be one of the most violence prisons in the United States, and was nicknamed the “Alcatraz of the South.” Children should not be relegated to Alcatraz or Angola.
When systems fail to be proactive and responsive in developmentally appropriate and compassionate ways, we fail all our children, from birth to 24. Our systematic approaches to discipline, rather than positive youth development and healing, are punitive, trauma-inducing, developmentally inappropriate, and perpetuate racism.
Following news of the Governor’s plan to move youth from Bridge City Youth Correctional Center to Angola State Prison for adults, Gina Womack, the Executive Director of Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), issued the following statement:
“The Governor's plan to house youth at Angola State Prison is cruel and outrageous. Angola is an adult facility built on former slave quarters that is historically known for horrific violence, abuse, and sexual assaults caused by institutional and systemic violence. To house children at this facility and under the same harsh and violent conditions as adults demonstrates the Governor’s lack of understanding of developmentally-appropriate rehabilitation and commitment to dismantling systems of racism and oppression in Louisiana.”
The children and youth of New Orleans are not broken or damaged. They can rise above circumstances and have the ability to define their own path.
Our youth deserve homes, schools, and communities that prioritize their value, sense of safety, and well-being, and understand developmentally appropriate behavior and respond with compassionate and developmentally appropriate approaches.