NEW ORLEANS – The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana released the following statement regarding the Department of Corrections’ COVID-19 Furlough Review Panel that will consider furloughs of incarcerated people who are within the last six months of their prison sentence.
According to reporting in The Advocate, only about 100 people in state prisons would be eligible for release under the plan.
Alanah Odoms Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana executive director, had this reaction:
“This is a step forward – but it’s a vanishingly small step that would reduce our prison population by only a tiny fraction of what’s needed to protect public health. Subjecting people who are already within six months of their release date to a cumbersome, one-sided review process does not go nearly far enough to avert a prison pandemic that would disproportionately impact people of color and further strain our healthcare system. For weeks, public health experts have warned that a dramatic reduction in our prison population is vital to averting a public health catastrophe. This is a moment that requires bold action and strong leadership, not half-measures and red tape. We urge Governor Edwards to heed the advice of public health experts and use his executive power to reduce our prison population – before it’s too late.”
The ACLU of Louisiana has repeatedly called on Edwards’ administration to take strong measures to protect public health by releasing vulnerable communities from prison. The organization’s previous correspondence to the Governor and other state and local officials can be found here.