New pictures and videos of juvenile facility at Angola
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Attorneys presented pictures and videos to the court that show what the facility looks like if juveniles are transferred from the Bridge City Youth Center.
A video shown in court is said to show just where the teens would stay if they are transferred to the Old Death Row building at Angola.
“What our expert said was the fact that the cells at the Angola Prison have bars and are sliding bar doors that will be locked through control mechanisms,” explains Attorney Aditi Shahn.
The assistant secretary for OJJ testified that the single cells are best because they keep the inmates from attacking one another or the staff. The attorneys against the transfer of juveniles from The Bridge City Youth Center argued that the facility at Angola is not fit to house juveniles. A juvenile justice expert stated that housing children in an adult facility could lead to an increase in suicide risk and other mental health problems.
“Somebody is going to get hurt, somebody is going to commit suicide. Those cells are not appropriate for any human being much less an adolescent thrown into an incredibly stressful environment,” explains Attorney David Utter.
Other pictures showed the state of the kitchen and equipment, along with what the visitation rooms would like when parents come to visit their child and even the bathrooms. The OJJ assistant secretary said they would have shower curtains up for the juveniles.
“You’ve seen the pictures, there is no way, our expert testified that it would take months, months if in fact, Angola was the only option for this. It would take months before it would be ready to house children,” says Attorney Ron Haley.
The state also argued that the teen inmates would have the chance to leave the Angola site if their behavior changed. The assistant secretary of OJJ says the juvenile facility at Angola is meant to be a temporary holding place for the most violent juveniles unit the Swanson Facility in Monroe is ready. OJJ reported Swanson Facility has to go through renovations because of a riot involving juveniles attacking others and staff.
“In this situation here, this does not wreak of something that appears to be a temporary situation. These resources are being dumped in, you are taking resources away from permanent places and putting it into something that’s temporary,” adds Haley.
WAFB did try to talk with the state attorneys, but they did not want to do an interview while the hearings are still going on.
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