BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — It’s been an uphill battle between the state and Angola Youth advocates, but that didn’t stop organizations like Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) from working to hold state officials accountable.
On Sept. 8, Chief U.S. District Shelly Dick ordered the state to remove the minors from Angola. This week, a temporary hold from the federal appeals court allowed the state to keep the kids in the facility on the Louisiana State Penitentiary campus.
“Us knowing that the appeal was happening, we knew we had to get boots to the ground again across the state,” said Antonio Travis, the youth coordinator with FFLIC.
Protesters said it’s been an uphill battle but worth the fight.
As they were speaking, the Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ) released a statement saying the youth were removed from Angola grounds. They’ll be placed at a juvenile center in Jackson Parish.
“When we got here, we all were in spirits. But, you know, we tried to build morale because, like, again, we know our kids have been traumatized. So, to hear that news in real time — it would have always been worth it — but to get that news while we were all together, I think it had a big impact,” said Travis.
OJJ officials said they would ensure that the youth are getting rehabilitation care in Jackson Parish, one of the ACLU’s and FFLIC’s biggest concerns.
“If you think we won’t keep showing up, you got us misunderstood, we’ll show up in front of the governor’s mansion like we did today,” said Travis.
The OJJ disagrees with the U.S. District Court’s ruling and plans to continue with the recent appeal set in motion.