NPAP Comments on Over-Detention in Louisiana

The National Police Accountability Project (NPAP) condemns the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DOC) and DOC Secretary James LeBlanc and demands the immediate release of all prisoners currently held beyond their legal release dates. NPAP is a national organization of civil rights lawyers dedicated to curbing law enforcement misconduct that is headquartered in New Orleans. NPAP president Professor Michael Avery stated, “It is a disgrace that Louisiana leads the nation in terms of incarcerated persons per capita. But it is an indefensible outrage that it holds hundreds of those prisoners beyond their legal release date.” Avery is Professor Emeritus at Suffolk Law School in Boston.

NPAP noted that evidence gathered by New Orleans Attorney William Most, an NPAP Board member, has established conclusively that the pattern of over-detention has existed for years and that state officials have been aware of the problem but have not taken effective corrective action. Prof. Avery said, “State officials’ excuse—that computing a prisoner’s release date involves “several moving parts”—is bureaucratic claptrap. They have acknowledged it takes them an average of 79 days to compute the end date of a sentence. With proper record-keeping the computation could be done in minutes.” NPAP Executive Director Rachel Pickens added, “The liberty stolen from the prisoners in question cannot be given back to them. The taxpayer money wasted on holding people in custody who should have been released cannot be recovered. This illegal practice must end now.” 

For more information about the history of over-detention in Louisiana, you can click here to read the original news story in The Advocate.

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