Free youths from prisons during coronavirus pandemic, advocates say in lawsuit

Matt Sledge,

Advocates filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on Thursday seeking better conditions or outright release for the children and teenagers locked up in Louisiana’s juvenile prisons, which have experienced a serious coronavirus outbreak.

They allege lax hygiene and inadequate testing have been endemic in the youth prison system. The lockups have said that 28 youths and 41 staffers have tested positive for coronavirus. The real numbers might be much higher if the state Office of Juvenile Justice tested more people, the lawsuit alleges.

In a declaration attached to the suit, one mother said her son hasn’t received a mask — despite being housed in close quarters with 11 other kids — and described him wearing a T-shirt wrapped around his face during a phone call.





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