We applaud The Justice Department’s investigation into over-detention in Louisiana, which comes as a result of our Humphrey v. LeBlanc over-detention suit. The Justice Department announced their civil investigation on December 3, 2020 stating that they “will examine the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections’ policies and practices for ensuring the timely release of state prisoners in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections.” The Justice Department’s investigation will be conducted under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Person’s Act (CRIPA) to determine if there has been a violation of incarcerated peoples’ constitutional rights.
According to the Advocate, “Louisiana inmates have been held past their release dates for a collective total of more than 3,000 years since 2012, costing the state millions.” A DOC internal investigation in 2012 found that over 2,000 people each year were held past their release dates for an average of 71 days. The issue is centered around a flaw in the calculation process of release dates and a lack of administrative organization, which the DOC has known about since at least 2012. Over-detention remains a serious problem in Louisiana correctional facilities, especially as COVID-19 continues to spread rapidly through prisons and jails.
PJI, and our case partners, William Most, and Loevy & Loevy, will remain in close contact with our incarcerated clients who are affected by over-detention, and will continue to put pressure on DOC to bring home our community members who remain unjustly imprisoned as a result of bureaucratic incompetence.