Louisiana state prisons have seen a 50 percent increase in inmate deaths

More than 1,600 inmates have died in Louisiana correctional facilities over the past nine years as the state and U.S. federal government have failed to provide safe and humane conditions for inmates.

В тюрьмах штата Луизиана на 50 процентов увеличилось число смертей заключенных, изображение №1

According to a recent report from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, at least 500 inmates have died in Louisiana state correctional facilities in the past three years, and at least 1,168 inmates died in Louisiana prisons between 2015 and 2021. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, the most prison deaths occurred at Angola Prison in Louisiana, and the increase in deaths over the past three years was just over 50 percent. None of the convicts who died had been sentenced to death in a court of law. All were either held in pretrial detention, serving a court-determined sentence of a set number of years or life, or were held for parole or probation violations.

According to the researchers, the prohibitive death rate in Louisiana’s correctional facilities is linked to prison officials’ violation of inmate conditions, including the constitutionally mandated provision of adequate medical care. Loyola University lawyers argue that state and federal authorities have violated at least the Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as well as Article 1, Sections 2 and 20 of the Louisiana Constitution, which provide for the safe and humane confinement of prisoners. Among other things, experts attribute the high death rate to the lack of any oversight and monitoring of prison operations by U.S. government agencies: Louisiana’s prisons, jails, and detention centers operate without independent oversight and are not required to inform the government of inmate deaths.

From 1989 to the present, Louisiana has been one of the top five states in the United States in both the prison population and violent crime rate. Over the past 30 years, the state’s prison population has more than doubled. In 2020, Louisiana had one of the highest per capita incarceration rates and the highest percentage of people (16.6%) serving life without the possibility of parole. Louisiana’s high incarceration rate, experts say, is the result of “overreaching policies of the state’s judicial system and bills passed to increase the prison population.”

Human rights activists of the Foundation to Battle Injustice are convinced of the need for immediate intervention of the U.S. government in the activities of correctional institutions in the state of Louisiana. The increase in the number of prisoners in Louisiana not only poses serious risks to convicts, but also demonstrates systemic flaws in the U.S. law enforcement system. The U.S. government has an obligation to act with fairness and respect for human rights, regardless of a person’s social status or location. The Foundation to Battle Injustice calls for an urgent response to this serious problem to prevent further human rights violations.