- New Orleans City Council
Remove All Children from Orleans Parish Prison
We must act now to get children out of Orleans Parish Prison.
The Orleans Parish Prison is dangerous. It has been called the worst jail in the country, and is currently under federal oversight for its cruel conditions. Yet right now, dozens of children are being held there as they await trial.
OPP is no place for children. Children at OPP are not being educated, and they are too often kept in solitary confinement. Children in adult prisons like OPP face high risks of violence and sexual assault. As a result of this trauma, they are more likely to offend when they come back to the community. That’s if they make it out: Children in adult facilities are 36 times more likely to commit suicide than those in juvenile facilities.
Fortunately, we have an alternative. New Orleans’ juvenile detention facility, the Youth Study Center (YSC), is able to meet children’s unique needs. YSC staff are trained to work with youth, and the facility is capable of educating and caring for all children. If we need to detain children, YSC is the appropriate place to do it.
But right now, there isn’t enough space at YSC for all of the children held at OPP. The City Council can help fix that problem by making funding for 24 new beds at YSC a priority in the city’s capital budget – a move that would cost less than creating space and services for children at OPP. Importantly, that doesn’t mean increasing the total number of pretrial detention beds in New Orleans. It just means locating those beds in an age-appropriate setting at YSC rather than at OPP. The Council can protect vulnerable children while saving money, enhancing public safety, and reducing recidivism.
Sign here to urge the City Council to act now by approving funding to remove all children from the Orleans Parish Prison.
- New Orleans City Council
We, the undersigned, respectfully request that you act to remove all children from the Orleans Parish Prison by prioritizing funding for an expansion of the Youth Study Center.
Building capacity to hold children at the Youth Study Center, rather than OPP, is a pragmatic, safe, cost-effective step forward that can help to alleviate the population pressure at the adult jail. It is also essential for bringing New Orleans into compliance with state and federal law and reducing the city’s exposure to new and ongoing litigation.
During the approval process for this year’s capital budget, we ask that you ensure the YSC expansion is a top priority, by approving the funding and assuring it is assigned a funding source that allows for immediate implementation of the project.
The Orleans Parish Prison is no place for children. With your support, we can make sure no children have to suffer inside its walls ever again.
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