Parents, advocacy group sues New Orleans over illegal evacuation of youth in juvenile jail during Hurricane Ida

Local News

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NEW ORLEANS, La (BRPROUD)- The Loyola Law Clinic filed a lawsuit against the city of New Orleans over the illegal policy for youth housed in the Juvenile Justice Intervention Center. According to the clinic, New Orleans recently implemented the policy during Hurricane Ida to evacuate the youth to the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center, an adult prison run by the Department of Public Safety and Correction.

The lawsuit states that the youth detainees reported horrendous conditions at the adult prison, including inedible food, excessive heat, lack of access to basic hygiene necessities, long periods of isolation, and visual contact with adult prisoners’. It also states that neither the families or lawyers of the youth were informed of their location before or during their stay at the adult facility. Parents were not able to communicate with their children during the evacuation and only learned of what happened after the youth returned to their facility.

The lawsuit was publicized via Facebook, when the Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC), the co-plaintiff in the case, announced the case on live. The other co-plaintiff is the parent of an evacuated youth who filed on behalf of herself and her child, both of whom used pseudonyms in the filings.

“City officials have had 16 years to come up with a better plan for keeping our children safe during a
hurricane. Instead, all they did was further traumatize the youth and their parents. Every other
juvenile detention center affected by Ida was able to evacuate their youth to a licensed juvenile
facility. We are still in hurricane season, and the city must create a new evacuation plan now,” said Gina Womack, the Executive Director of Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC).

The suit was filed with a motion to seek a temporary order from the court to prohibit New Orleans from implementing any policy while the lawsuit is pending if another hurricane or natural disaster comes to the city that requires evacuation.

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