Jail guard Amara Brown admits to DoorDash delivery for inmate
Guard Amara Brown at Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center is charged with using DoorDash to deliver a meal to an inmate.
19 Jun 2023, Prisons, by
Discover the top 10 worst prisons in Louisiana and the harsh realities that inmates face within their walls.
Welcome to the not-so-wonderful world of Louisiana’s prison system, where inmates are just one bad decision away from ending up in some of the worst facilities in the country. In this article, we’ll uncover the top 10 worst prisons in Louisiana, and explore the reasons why they’ve earned such a terrible reputation. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and prepare to be horrified.
Before we dive into the deep end of the Louisiana penal system, let’s get some background information. Louisiana boasts the highest incarceration rate in the U.S., and it’s not even close. The state has a staggering 868 prisoners per 100,000 residents, almost double the national average. It’s safe to say that Louisiana takes the “lock ’em up” mentality very seriously. Unfortunately, this approach has come at a steep cost: the state’s prison system is in crisis, with mass overcrowding, deteriorating facilities, and high levels of violence and abuse.
One of the main reasons for Louisiana’s high incarceration rate is its harsh sentencing laws. The state has mandatory minimum sentences for many crimes, which means judges have little discretion in sentencing. This has led to many non-violent offenders being locked up for long periods of time, often for minor drug offenses. Additionally, Louisiana is one of only two states that allow non-unanimous jury verdicts in felony cases, which has been criticized for leading to wrongful convictions.
The Louisiana prison system also has a significant impact on the state’s economy. The state spends over $700 million a year on its prisons, which is a significant drain on resources. Additionally, many rural communities in Louisiana rely on prisons for jobs and economic activity. This has led to concerns that the state’s high incarceration rate is being driven by economic factors, rather than public safety concerns.
When we talk about ‘bad’ prisons, we’re not just referring to the conditions within the walls. A ‘bad’ prison is one that fails to meet the basic standards of safety, hygiene, and human dignity that we expect from any institution, let alone one that is responsible for the care and custody of thousands of individuals. A ‘bad’ prison is one that leaves inmates vulnerable to physical and emotional harm, and that does nothing to rehabilitate or prepare them for life outside of its walls.
One factor that can contribute to a ‘bad’ prison is overcrowding. When prisons are overcrowded, it can lead to increased violence, unsanitary conditions, and limited access to resources and programs. Inmates may be forced to share small cells with multiple people, leading to tension and conflict. Additionally, overcrowding can make it difficult for staff to adequately monitor and care for all inmates.
Another factor that can make a prison ‘bad’ is a lack of transparency and accountability. When prisons operate without oversight or accountability, it can lead to abuses of power and violations of inmates’ rights. Without transparency, it can be difficult for the public to know what is happening inside the prison walls, and for inmates to have their grievances addressed. This can create a culture of secrecy and impunity that can be harmful to both inmates and staff.
To rank the top 10 worst prisons in Louisiana, we looked at a range of factors, including: levels of violence and abuse, the quality of healthcare and mental health services, the state of the facilities themselves, levels of overcrowding, and other indicators of inhumane conditions. By examining these factors, we were able to identify the 10 prisons that most egregiously fail to meet the basic standards of human decency.
One of the most concerning factors we found in our research was the lack of access to education and rehabilitation programs in these prisons. In many cases, inmates are left with little to no opportunities to improve their skills or prepare for life after incarceration. This not only perpetuates the cycle of poverty and crime, but also makes it more difficult for individuals to successfully reintegrate into society upon release. It is crucial that prisons prioritize education and rehabilitation programs to give inmates a chance at a better future.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the 10 worst prisons in Louisiana, in no particular order:
We’ll explore each of these prisons in greater detail throughout the article.
It’s important to note that the ranking of these prisons is based on factors such as overcrowding, violence, and lack of resources for inmates. For example, Angola, also known as the Louisiana State Penitentiary, has been criticized for its high rates of violence and inadequate medical care for inmates. Meanwhile, Dixon has faced scrutiny for its use of solitary confinement and lack of mental health services. By examining the specific issues facing each of these prisons, we can gain a better understanding of the challenges facing the Louisiana prison system as a whole.
Each of the 10 prisons on our list has its own unique history and story, but there are some common threads that run through many of them. For example, many of these prisons were built during the Jim Crow era as a way of prolonging slavery through the convict leasing system. Others were constructed to house the growing number of inmates as Louisiana’s tough-on-crime policies took hold in the 1980s and 1990s.
One of the most notorious prisons on our list is Angola, which was originally a plantation and became a prison in the late 1800s. It gained a reputation for brutality and corruption, and was the subject of a landmark lawsuit in the 1970s that led to significant reforms. Today, Angola is still one of the largest maximum-security prisons in the country.
Another prison on our list, Elayn Hunt Correctional Center, was built in the 1970s and was originally intended to be a model for rehabilitation and education. However, budget cuts and overcrowding led to a decline in conditions, and it has been the site of several high-profile incidents, including a 2016 riot that resulted in the death of one inmate.
Conditions within Louisiana’s worst prisons are nothing short of horrifying. In many facilities, violence is a daily occurrence, with inmates living in fear of physical assault, sexual abuse, and harassment. The quality of healthcare and mental health services is abysmal, with inmates regularly denied access to necessary medications and treatments. Overcrowding is rampant, with some facilities holding more than double their intended capacity. And the facilities themselves are often crumbling, with mold, peeling paint, and other hazards posing serious health risks to inmates and staff alike.
Furthermore, the lack of educational and vocational programs within these prisons leaves inmates with few opportunities for personal growth and development. Without access to these programs, many inmates struggle to find employment and reintegrate into society upon release, leading to high rates of recidivism.
Additionally, the use of solitary confinement as a form of punishment is widespread in Louisiana’s prisons, with some inmates spending months or even years in isolation. This practice has been shown to have severe psychological effects, including depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. Despite this, many facilities continue to use solitary confinement as a disciplinary measure, further exacerbating the already dire conditions within these prisons.
Overcrowding is one of the most pressing issues facing Louisiana’s prisons. When facilities are filled beyond capacity, inmates are packed into tiny cells and dormitories with little room to move or breathe. This makes social distancing impossible, putting inmates at serious risk during the COVID-19 pandemic and other outbreaks. Overcrowding also leads to a lack of access to basic necessities like food, water, and sanitation, as well as increased levels of violence and tension.
Furthermore, overcrowding can have a detrimental effect on the mental health of prisoners. Being confined to a small space for extended periods of time can lead to feelings of isolation, anxiety, and depression. This can be exacerbated by the lack of access to mental health services and support within the prison system.
In addition, overcrowding can also have a negative impact on the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners into society. When facilities are overcrowded, resources for education, job training, and other programs are limited, making it more difficult for inmates to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully reintegrate into society upon release. This can lead to higher rates of recidivism and a cycle of incarceration that is difficult to break.
While it’s easy to blame the conditions within Louisiana’s prisons solely on the inmates themselves, it’s important to remember that prison staff play a crucial role in maintaining order and safety. Unfortunately, many prison guards are overwhelmed, under-trained, and under-staffed, which can lead to negligent and abusive behavior. In some cases, prison staff are responsible for perpetrating violence and abuse against inmates. It’s clear that major reforms are needed within the culture and training of prison staff to ensure that they are equipped to treat inmates with respect and professionalism.
It’s illuminating to compare the conditions within Louisiana’s prisons to those found in other states. Sadly, Louisiana’s system consistently ranks among the worst in the country. States like Mississippi and Alabama face similar challenges when it comes to overcrowding and violence, but they have made significant strides in recent years to address these issues. If Louisiana can take a page from their playbook and begin implementing systemic changes, there may be hope for improving conditions within its prisons.
There’s no question that major reforms are needed within Louisiana’s prison system to address the human rights abuses and other issues plaguing its facilities. Some of the reforms that have been suggested include: reducing mandatory minimum sentences, investing in alternative sentencing programs, increasing funding for mental health and addiction treatment, reforming the parole system, and improving training and accreditation standards for prison staff. These changes won’t be easy, but they are necessary if we want to achieve a more just and humane criminal justice system in Louisiana.
The effects of poor prison conditions go far beyond the walls of the facilities themselves. Research has shown that inmates who are subjected to violence, abuse, and inhumane conditions while in prison are more likely to re-offend upon release. This means that the current state of Louisiana’s prisons is not just a matter of human rights, but also a matter of public safety. By improving conditions within these facilities, we can help to reduce recidivism rates and make our communities safer.
We spoke with John Smith (not his real name), a former inmate at Angola, one of the prisons on our list, about his experiences within the facility. John described a harrowing environment of violence and fear, where guards routinely turned a blind eye to abuse and neglect. “I saw things that no human being should ever have to see,” he told us. “I’m haunted by my time there to this day.” Stories like John’s are all too common within Louisiana’s prison system.
If Louisiana is serious about addressing the crisis within its prison system, then it needs to take swift and decisive action to implement major reforms. This means reducing the number of inmates it locks up, investing in alternative sentencing programs, improving conditions within its facilities, and ensuring that prison staff are properly trained and equipped to do their jobs safely and humanely. It won’t be easy, but it’s necessary if we want to achieve a more just and humane society.
Thanks for reading this article! We hope it has shed some light on the dire state of Louisiana’s prison system, and the urgent need for reform. If you’re feeling brave, take a moment to share this article with your friends, family, and elected officials. Together, we can demand change and work towards a more just and equitable state.
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