BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — A decision about what will happen to some of the juvenile inmates at the Bridge City Center for Youth is drawing near.
Lawmakers say that Bridge City is not working and have proposed transferring the young inmates to Angola. However, the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights says that is unethical.
“And so every minute we’re not focused on that. We’re moving farther away from real solutions,” said The Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, Executive Director Aaron Clark-Rizzio.
Rizzio says moving the young inmates will only create the same patterns.
“They’re not spending enough time on the things that really matter and that is creating a culture and policies that can support children in their care,” he said.
And with the lack of sharing their plan about the move with the public, he fears the Office of Juvenile Justice will neglect not only the youth’s rights to rehabilitation but also their right to education.
“We know that in opening up these new facilities, there’s not enough planning around education specifically, especially to meet the education rights of those children who have disabilities. And we know that OJJ is not making enough considerations for those children,” Clark-Rizzio said.
Clark-Rizzio believes OJJ’s past actions will show how they will act in the future. He says Angola is not a place where a child who has their whole future ahead of them should be.
“Angola prison is the prison where we send adults only when they have long sentences. If they have short sentences, when we know adults are coming home to our community, we don’t send them to Angola,” he said.
He promises that if children are moved to Angola – the fight would not end there. The Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights will continue to talk to youth but mostly the judge. Making sure youth are sent to a better facility with a community that can support them.
Advocates say juvenile inmates need more educational opportunities to be productive. The judge will decide Friday if the youth will be transferred to the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.