Sunday, October 02, 2005

A lot has happened in the last few days . . . (an Update on Abuse of Evacuated Inmates). By Phylliss Mann

On 10/2/05 Phyllis E. Mann provided the following update on Abused Inmate Evacuees:

Subject: Jefferson Parish to Jena prison inmates

All:

A lot has happened in the last few days, and I wanted to make you all aware.

Jefferson Parish evacuated their Inmates quickly after the hurricane, and it appears that most of them were evacuated out of Jefferson on Aug 30. Most of them ended up at Jena, Louisiana in the old Jena Juvenile Justice Center, which apparently the DOC opened up to house evacuated inmates. We learned all of this on September 20 when Julie Kilborn and I went to Winn Correctional Center to interview the evacuated inmates there. Many of them had originated in Jefferson, been sent to Jena, and then moved on to Winn.

These guys told us appalling stories of physical abuse occurring at Jena, but most importantly they told us that there was still a large number of Jefferson Parish inmates who were being held at Jena. We tried to go to Jena on Thurs Sept 22, but with Hurricane Rita looming we could not schedule the interviews until Tues Sept 27. On Sept 27, two attorneys Rachel Jones and Dave Park went to Jena. They learned that the inmates still at Jena, who by now had been there for 3 weeks, were continuing to be subjected to horrifying abuse, both physical and mental. Rachel and Dave went back to Jena, along with Christine Lehmann and Neal Walker, on Thurs Sept 29, to finish interviewing the inmates. Not only did the rest of the inmates confirm the abuse, but men who had spoken to the lawyers on Tues had been beaten and placed in segregation for telling the lawyers about the abuse. We also learned that inmates from Calcasieu Parish have been evacuated to the Jena facility.

On Friday Sept 30, the Department of Justice was notified of the situation. We also notified Human Rights Watch, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and members of the media including the LA Times, the NY Times, and CNN. The various civil rights organizations – in particular Ted Shaw and Vanita Gupta of the NAACP-LDF and Corinne Carey of Human Rights Watch- got to work immediately and contacted Louisiana state legislators. Those legislators (primarily members of the black caucus, I believe) were outraged and have worked quickly to take control of the facility. As of 5:00 today, we understand that the Louisiana State Police have been asked to take over the facility immediately, to protect the inmates, and to preserve evidence of abuse and the identity of the perpetrators. Also, a Judge from Orleans has signed an order authorizing Human Rights Watch to enter the Jena facility and conduct interviews.

I wanted you all to be aware of this situation, because even in the chaos that is our current criminal justice system, it seems that caring lawyers working together can achieve some small successes.

Phyllis E. Mann
Post Office Box 705
Alexandria, LA 71309
(318) 448-0000
FAX (318) 448-2250
e-mail: phyllis@kricket.net

8 Comments:

At 4:52 PM, Anonymous sandi s said...

My husband was an inmate in the Jefferson Parish prison who was initially sent to Jena - a trip that lasted 13.5 hrs and included no food, no water, a brief period of the driver being lost and no bathroom breaks. He is African-American and tells me in great detail the horrors to which he was subjected. He was one of those subsequently moved to David Wade CC. I know he was interviewed by an attorney there.

I am repulsed at the idea that the DOCs solution was to move the offending (i.e. black) prisoners to another facility. Why are the corrections officers, both from LA and otherwise, not facing sanctions and criminal charges.

I have called the DOC secretary's office repeatedly and I know they are tired of hearing from me. Their rebuttal is that this is all related to "alleged abuse". Guess what?? My husband is in jail because of an alleged crime!! I can't believe that in this time of crisis, no consideration is being given on the basis of whether the inmate is convicted or accused. My husband was a working, tax paying citizen prior to his arrest and quite frankly - his family needs him now more than ever!

I hope the horrible details of this abuse are made public and I am looking for assistance from anyone. Evacuated inmates not convicted are being denied access to counsel. HELP US.

swsmallwood@doctorsadvantage.com

 
At 1:59 PM, Anonymous Dorothy Bankhead said...

My son was at Jefferson Parish for an alleged crime and I have been told by him of the unspeakable treatment recieved by these prisoners! I am told that the feds were the ones that conducted the evacuation. They were tazered to keep them under control and many were beaten badly. There were things he said he simply would not tell me because they were too bad to speak of. I hope every dirty detail of this is brought out and that those participating in such abuse are brought to justice! Reguardless of what these people are in jail for they are human beings and should not be treated in such a manner! The worst of it is that this sort of abuse goes on in jails and prisons accross our country every day. It should not take this kind of situation to bring it to light and prompt people to do something about it! It sickens me and makes me ashamed to be an american!

 
At 1:17 PM, Blogger christy said...

i was a jefferson parish inmate when the hurricane hit we were transfered to st gabriel LCIW prison 2 days after it katrine hit.. we were places in 6 by 8 lockdown cells the cells were made for one inmate yet they had 2 girls per cell they wing we were housed in had no air at all it was very very hot .. we couldnt wear clothes because of the heat ... we was placed on lockdown 23 and half hours a day after being there a week we was allowed to go outside on the yard to smoke a cigg for 30 mins in the morning which we had to wear handcuffs the intire time .. many days we went without soap shampoo pads and toilet paper.. we had mentally challeneged ppl on our wing and instead of the deputys helping them when they would acted up they deputys would pepper spray them i was there 2 months after the hurricane and was finally released ... i keep in touch with many of the girls there i left behind and not much has change i pray for these girls everyday... just because their inmates doesnt mean they should be treated less than a dog ... its not right for what these girls are going thru... im blessed to be out of that situation... and i think its time everyone fount out what happened to the lost and forgotton inmates

 
At 6:28 PM, Blogger sheril said...

I actually wanted to cry after reading some of these comments,especially the one from sandi concerning the inmates being held and not even having any councel. my son was in new orleans even before katrina hit and has been evacuated to concordia parish. he spoke of the abuse as bad treatment in new orleans after katrina hit,including no food or water for 3days,until they arrived into concordia parish.my son is to on charges he never even went to court on yet,it's now a year and 2weeks.My son has never seen or spoken to any councel as of today. i .as so many of people have lost so much,and i really need my son. sometimes i wonder if majority of these inmates were not black, would they still be in jail without having the right to councel. but then i'm scared of councel also if it's court appointed,because louisiana ,especially jefferson parish and new orleans is not a good place for any poor man accused of a crime, unless it's a petty crime.i feel everyones pain, i cry every day and sometimes all night.where is the rights for our loved ones.how come the news is not reporting anything on these prisoners? I will pray for your people,but more than our corrupt justice system, please call on god!

 
At 3:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My name is Cornell I WAS AN INMATE DURING HURRICANE KATRINA WE WAS TRANSFERED TO JENA CORRECTIONAL I WAS ABUSED WASN'T ALLOWED TO CONTACT FAMILY MEMBERS WE COULDN'T WRITE OR DIDN'T GET MEALS LIKE WE WAS SUPPOSED TO WE ONLY GOT TWO MEALS A DAY THEY HELD US DOWN AND CUT OR HAIR OFF WE WAS TREATED LIKE ANIMALS I WAS TRANSFERED FROM JPCC AND IS LOOKING FOR A RESONABLE LAWYER YOU CAN CONTACT ME AT 504-304-6279 OR MONIQUEGRAD@YAHOO.COM

 
At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the truth on LCIW. These people were killed and neglected by gaurds and medical staff. Jessica(the gaurds beat her to death) rebecca woodal was medically neglected every time she went to the infirmary they wrote her up for milingering. she died 10 days after her release 21 yrs old. April George was beaten and put on Lock down (she knew to much.ask Judy walters They let rough rider crawl to her death from pneumonia (nurses)
Listen because the gaurds covering dirty deeds and they are told ahead of time when inspections come and hide the inmates who know their dirty deeds.Help them who ever is listening.thanks.....

 
At 6:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was an inmate @ LCIW for 2 years, I spent my last 90 days in lockdown. 9 days before I was to be released I was written up and put in lockdown, I had to stay an extra 3 months in prison. 45 days into my lockdown I was told by the gaurd that wrote me up that she knew I was set up for this write up and went along because she liked the inmate that did it. She also told me she wouldn't have written me up if she had known I was friends with another inmate. It is sad that different rules apply to different people. Lockdown was horrible, there was no air and it got up to 100 degrees. We slept on the floor in our panties because it was the only halfway comfortable place in those tiny cells. The treatment is horrible. We are still humans, some of us were there on stupid mistakes that harmed no one but ourselves.

 
At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LCIW IS FOR THE DOGS!!! THE STAFF DOES NOT CARE FOR THE INMATES. I WAS THERE FOR 2 YEARS AND WAS BLESSED TO GET OUT WITHOUT LOSING MY TIME OR BEING ON LOCKDOWN. I KNOW SOME OF THE STAFF WOULD HAVE LOVED TO PLACE ME ON LOCKDOWN BUT GOD PROTECTED ME FROM THEM. NOT ALL THE STAFF IS BAD ,JUST ABOUT 90% OF THEM. ALOT OF STUFF IS COVERED UP,SUCH AS BUT NOT LIMITED TO DEATHS,BEATINGS,AND SMUGGLING THINGS INTO THE INMATES. I PRAY GOD REVEALS THE TRUE LIFE GOING ON BEHIND THOOSE WALLS VERY SOON.

 

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