NEW ORLEANS – Ahead of Tropical Storm Barry, the ACLU of Louisiana put corrections officials on notice to protect human life and respect the rights of people incarcerated in local jails and prisons.
“With Tropical Storm Barry strengthening, it is imperative for local officials to heed the lessons of Hurricane Katrina and ensure the safety of every human being in their care,” said Alanah Odoms Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana executive director. “The horrific stories of people abandoned at Orleans Parish Prison in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina are a haunting reminder of what can happen when corrections officials fail to uphold their most basic obligation: to protect human life. The ACLU of Louisiana will be watching and has every intention of holding local officials accountable for protecting the safety and wellbeing of every person in their custody.”
In 2006, the ACLU’s National Prison Project released a report documenting the experiences of thousands of men, women and children who were abandoned at Orleans Parish Prison in the days after Hurricane Katrina.
While some progress has been made in reducing New Orleans’ jail population, more work must be done. According to the Times Picayune, “on an average day in the second half of 2018, the city had 1,225 people locked up.”