U.S. Statement of Interest, Alex A. v. Gov. John Bel Edwards

No. 3:22-cv-00573 (M.D. La. 2023).

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in a civil lawsuit addressing the constitutional rights of youth who had been adjudicated delinquent and transferred to the Louisiana State Penitentiary’s former death row building, known as Angola. In their statement, the United States asserted that youth are particularly vulnerable to harmful conditions of confinement, including lack of access to adequate mental health and educational services, inadequate recreation, irregular contact with their families, excessive heat, unsafe safe drinking water, and long periods of isolation in their cells. These conditions place youth at risk of suffering serious and irreparable harm to their physical and mental health, satisfying elements of a preliminary injunction in favor of removing youth from harmful facilities. The statement also highlights the serious damage caused by the use of solitary confinement on youth. Relying on consensus from recent case law, federal task forces, national organizations, federal legislation, and the medical, psychiatric, and correctional communities, the United States demonstrates the inherent harms of solitary confinement on youth and indicates that any use of isolation on youth would amount to substantial risk of serious harm and a violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. This statement is a compelling document for advocates to cite when making detention and disposition arguments for youth confined in facilities where harmful conditions are present and/or where solitary confinement or isolation are used.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Amicus brief, Resource Library
Tags: Conditions of Confinement, DOJ, Harms of Incarceration, Solitary Confinement