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On Election Day, voters in Alabama, Louisiana, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont will decide whether to close loopholes in their state constitutions allowing the forced labor of incarcerated people.
Data obtained by The Appeal show nearly 2,000 people in Mississippi and Louisiana are serving long—and sometimes life—sentences after they were labeled “habitual offenders." But most are behind bars for small crimes like drug possession.
An upcoming court ruling could decide the fate of a plan to detain “problematic youth” at a facility that previously housed prisoners awaiting execution.
Gloria Williams, who became known as “Mama Glo” behind bars, was released Tuesday, more than two years after the state parole board first recommended that her sentence be commuted.
Former Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson’s fiery dissents on mass incarceration and sentencing in America’s most carceral state garnered international attention. But the rise of the first Black woman on the court was characterized by one battle after another with the Deep South’s white power structure.
More than 20 women accused Harry Morel, a longtime district attorney in Louisiana, of sexual misconduct. But Morel pleaded guilty to just a single obstruction of justice count while Mike Zummer, the FBI agent who investigated him, was fired. Now, Zummer is speaking about what he says is a grave injustice—at the hands of the Justice Department.
Despite COVID-19 concerns, the state’s prisoners are still doing dangerous menial jobs in work-release programs.
The state has recommended the release of 10 women at a coronavirus-ravaged prison—but Governor John Bel Edwards still hasn’t signed the paperwork.
The state is sending virus-positive people to Angola prison—but those numbers aren’t reported on the Department of Corrections website.
Towns like Homer, Louisiana, have huge prisons, a tiny populace, and few public health resources—a potentially lethal combination as COVID-19 spreads.
Criminal justice advocates have called Camp J at the Louisiana State Penitentiary ‘a dungeon.’ Now it’s housing prisoners who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Local budget cuts enacted a decade ago left states and cities dangerously unprepared for COVID-19. We shouldn’t make those same mistakes again.
A sheriff’s deputy in Louisiana is caught on video choking a man after he says he asked for COVID-19 treatment.
The families and partners of those incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Complex at Oakdale are sharing information and support as COVID-19 hits the prison.
Powerful interests exploited Katrina to enrich themselves and transform the city. As a reporter who covered the fallout explains, our government’s lax oversight means the same could happen now, leaving those who most need help behind.
Jason Brown, who has worked in several parish DA's offices, was accused of using illegal tactics to win at least one case before arriving in Calcasieu Parish, where he was terminated over alleged dishonesty in a continuance motion. Now, The Appeal has learned that he had segregation-era signs in an art studio he owned.
A Department of Corrections official knew the extrajudicial practice was going on but little has been done to correct it.
Jails in New Orleans and Cleveland have had significant population drops, yet conditions of confinement remain poor. Communities harmed by these jails should experiment with new accountability measures to maintain political pressure against jail administrators.
A lawsuit alleges Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro’s office created bogus "subpoenas" to secure reluctant witnesses' cooperation—and even used them to jail crime victims.
The poor healthcare that Bobbie Jean Johnson received during her more than 40 years in prison contributed to her death, family members say.
During the tenure of Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal, deputies assaulted and harassed men inside the parish jail. Several deputies were convicted in federal court, and now cases brought by the office are under renewed scrutiny.
In 2018, the state’s voters approved a constitutional amendment that requires unanimous jury verdicts in felony cases for crimes committed on or after Jan. 1, 2019. Now, the Supreme Court is considering the constitutionality of the nonunanimity rule—with prosecutors arguing that the U.S. Constitution does not require unanimous jury verdicts in criminal cases.
More than three years after heavy rains and flooding devastated the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, officials have reached an agreement to build a new facility.
Neither agency had written policies on how to capture or store the location data without violating privacy rights.
Sheriff Sid Gautreaux faces two Democratic challengers in the Oct. 12 election.
A series of victories for advocates reflects a shift in the ‘popular narrative’ around bail.
Derek Harris awaits arguments in the state Supreme Court about the sentencing, which one judge called ‘unconscionable.’
Henri Lyles is challenging his life sentence under a statute that penalizes people for prior convictions. A favorable decision by the state Supreme Court would mean that he and a dozen people sentenced to life could one day be freed.
Jose ‘Lil Joe’ Chapa says one way to make Beauregard Parish ‘great again’ is to stop construction of a new jail and divert resources to services that keep people out of lockup altogether.
Gloria Williams was in her 20s when she was sent to prison for her part in a robbery that turned deadly. After serving nearly five decades, including one decade in solitary confinement, Williams now has a chance at freedom.
James Stewart, Caddo Parish’s DA, continues to defend controversial death sentences that originated with his predecessors.
A lawsuit filed by Kentrell Hurst’s children is the latest against New Orleans Sheriff Marlin Gusman over jail conditions.
‘The bill forces attorneys to choose between violating our ethical mandates or going to jail for following them.’
The bail bonds industry was caught overcharging 50,000 families $6 million over 14 years, according to SPLC.
The Orleans district attorney has said that violent youth are the city’s biggest crime problem.
In 2000, Lamar Burks was convicted of murder and given a 70-year sentence. But the federal indictment of a DEA agent and witnesses who say Burks is innocent have raised new questions about his case.
A judge excluded a confession that exonerated defendants in one trial related to a Delaware prison uprising, but a pair of defendants were nonetheless acquitted, promising further problems for prosecutors.
In 1996, Michele Benjamin was sentenced to life without parole for killing a man who she said solicited her for sex and menaced her with a weapon in New Orleans. A Supreme Court decision led her to be re-sentenced to life with a chance at parole in 2016. Today, a parole hearing brings the possibility of freedom.
Josie Duffy Rice
With Appeal contributors Clarissa Sosin and Daryl Khan.
Adam H. Johnson
Baton Rouge residents say little has changed after Alton Sterling.
Then he ordered another officer to arrest the man.
As in Louisiana, Oregon’s practice is rooted in its own rich history of white supremacy.
With Mercedes Montagnes of the Promise of Justice Initiative.
After the state cut funds for capital defense, there’s a growing wait list of people in jail without a lawyer.
Louisiana is keeping people behind bars long after their sentences have expired, attorneys say.
Attorney General Jeff Landry has taken a number of extreme positions on policing and sentencing in response to reform.
Off-duty law enforcement officers are using state resources to work side jobs for the pipeline company.
Ronald Brooks was helping plan a prison strike when he was abruptly transferred to a new prison hours away.
A new report details the abysmal conditions, lack of medical care, and staff shortages that led to the unusually high death rate in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.
The criminal court was funneling millions of dollars a year from poor communities.
Catina Curley suffered physical abuse at the hands of her husband for more than a decade. When she turned a revolver on him, she was charged with murder and sentenced to life. Now, thanks to a court ruling, she has a chance at freedom.
But after a spree of commutations, the governor recently put down his clemency pen amid tough-on-crime fear mongering.
Did a Louisiana police chief and a prosecutor cross a line when they issued televised threats to a man who'd just been granted relief by a federal appeals court in a child killing?
When Caddo voters booted their infamous district attorney, some of his toughest prosecutors found a home in Calcasieu.
Years after two landmark Supreme Court rulings, prosecutors in Louisiana are still overwhelmingly seeking life sentences for children.
People incarcerated at Angola want opportunities for education instead of hard labor in the fields.
Case called an “embarrassment to criminal justice system.”
A Louisiana man’s request for a “lawyer dog” was deemed unclear by the state’s Supreme Court.
A district attorney wants to solve crime by breaking up families.