Louisiana parents sue to get children out of juvenile detention as coronavirus spreads

Tyler Kingkade, NBC News Digital •

The 17-year-old incarcerated at the Swanson Center for Youth in Monroe, Louisiana, had a nurse take his temperature during the call; it was over 100 degrees.


The next day, his mother called the Swanson Center several times to find out how her son was doing, but his case worker said she didn’t know and would call back in a week, according to a sworn declaration from I.B.’s mother, filed Thursday as part of a class-action lawsuit seeking the release of incarcerated children in Louisiana amid the spreading coronavirus pandemic.

I.B.’s mother, who is identified in the lawsuit only as A.B., called the Swanson Center’s infirmary and learned that her son was there, but she said staff members hung up on her twice. After two days, she finally reached a supervisor, who confirmed that I.B. tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

According to the declaration, I.B. later told his mother he was placed in a “dirty room” with no air conditioning for several days. He wasn’t allowed to take a bath or brush his teeth, his mother said.

About the Expert

Marsha Levick co-founded Juvenile Law Center in 1975. Throughout her legal career, Levick has been an advocate for children’s and women's rights and is a nationally recognized expert in juvenile law.

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