Supporting Impacted People

Client and Family Assistance Project

The Client and Family Assistance Project is PJI’s direct service arm to impacted people and their families. The lives and stories of incarcerated clients and their communities form the touchstone of our work at PJI and inform all of our broader litigation and policy work. 

Surviving Incarceration

Surviving incarceration is a struggle for families and for the people Louisiana incarcerates en masse.  We spend less per person than any other state. 

  • Isolated Facilities: Louisiana’s State Penitentiary is extremely isolated. It is extremely expensive for family members to visit incarcerated loved ones.
  • Phone Calls: Calls to prisons and jails are made through privatized prison phone companies. The rates are exorbitant and prohibit incarcerated people from being in touch with their families. 
  • Surviving Imprisonment: Surviving the harsh conditions of prison is a daily battle in Louisiana. Brutal hot summer temperatures, expensive basic health and hygiene items, and lack of access to education and art materials makes it difficult to get through each day for clients. 
  • Incarcerated Women: The carceral system in Louisiana was created based on the needs of men. Mass incarceration affects women in Louisiana. There is currently no dedicated women’s prison in Louisiana as a result of flooding in 2016. Incarcerated women in Louisiana are scattered throughout men’s facilities throughout the state without direct programming or substantive services directly related to the needs of women. 

How PJI Helps

The Client and Family Assistance Project serves over 400 individuals throughout the prison system in Louisiana. Supported by Avodah – a Jewish Service Corps and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Client and Family Assistance Coordinators provide direct client care and advocacy on a daily basis. 

  • Reaffirming Dignity: Client calls and visits. Our coordinators keep direct contact with our incarcerated clients. Our clients know that there are people they can reach out to who will always take their call, who take interest in their lives, and who reaffirm their humanity by knowing them as people. 
  • Family Communication and Family Visits: CFAP raises money to give incarcerated people the freedom to make the expensive phone calls home to their families and children. We know that family contact improves mental health outcomes for incarcerated people, eventually leading to better outcomes during the reentry process. The CFAP Coordinators also facilitate group family visits so that families have the opportunity to visit their loved ones, despite the distance and high cost of a visit.
  • Helping Incarcerated People Access Basic Goods: CFAP raises funding to supply incarcerated people with important life aids such as eye glasses, canes, and health supplies, as well as hygiene materials, books, study materials, music, and art and craft supplies. CFAP also partners with other organizations to help incarcerated clients purchase holiday gifts for their children outside of prison walls.