NEW ORLEANS – The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Louisiana have launched a paid media campaign, including video ads and mailers, to educate and mobilize voters on the stakes of the November 13th election for Orleans Parish Sheriff. The campaign includes digital ads reaching approximately 300,000 viewers and mailers sent to more than 50,000 voters, as well as phone calls and texts to engage voters on the candidates’ positions.
The ads and mailers are based on the candidates’ responses to the ACLU of Louisiana’s candidate questionnaire, in which Susan Hutson opposed building a new 89-bed jail expansion for people struggling with mental health conditions, while Marlin Gusman showed his support for the new facility. Studies have shown that building more capacity in jails and prisons can increase incarceration.
“If there are 89 new beds to fill, likely 89 more people will be incarcerated in Orleans Parish on any given day,” said Chris Kaiser, ACLU of Louisiana advocacy director. “But it doesn’t have to be this way. Sheriffs have the power to implement alternatives to incarceration, and increase opportunities for rehabilitation for returning residents. Orleans Parish has been part of Louisiana’s mass incarceration problem for far too long – it’s now time for us to be part of the solution. We hope this campaign will help educate voters about the stakes of the sheriff’s election and encourage them to make their voices heard on November 13.”
The ads and mailer are part of a six-figure campaign from the ACLU to educate voters about the Orleans Parish sheriff candidates’ positions on key civil liberties and civil rights issues. In addition to running the city’s jail system, the sheriff will have the power to use alternatives to incarceration, minimize crime by providing opportunities for rehabilitation, influence state policy, and listen and respond to the community.
The ACLU’s Campaign for Smart Justice, which aims to reduce incarceration in the United States by 50% and challenge racism in the criminal legal system, has focused for several years on prosecutorial reform through litigation, advocacy, and voter education.
The ACLU does not support, endorse, or oppose candidates for elected office.