EAST BATON ROUGE – The ACLU of Louisiana today praised efforts in East Baton Rouge Parish to curb pretrial detention by speeding up the arraignment process, steps taken by the East Baton Rouge District Attorney’s Office and other criminal justice stakeholders.
“Pretrial detention has devastating consequences for families and communities, especially in East Baton Rouge where people often languish in jail for months without being charged with a crime,” said Alanah Odoms Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana executive director. “Even three days of unnecessary incarceration can cause someone to be fired from their job, lose custody of their children, or be evicted from their home. Louisiana is facing an epidemic of pretrial detention, and this collaborative effort is a promising step towards addressing this crisis and restoring the right to due process and a speedy trial for all those accused of crimes. While there’s much more work to be done, we commend District Attorney Hillar Moore for spearheading these much-needed reforms and encourage other local officials to follow EBR’s lead.”
The new process, spearheaded by District Attorney Hillar Moore with support from judges and other criminal justice system stakeholders, will require that prosecutors present a defendant to a judge within 72 hours of being detained. Previously, according to reporting by The Advocate, “inmates at Parish Prison who have yet to be convicted of a crime are held for about two months, approximately 55 days.”