[Last Updated 8/31/2020 4:30PM CST]

In the aftermath of the Category 4 Hurricane Laura, we know that incarcerated people in parts of Louisiana and Southeast Texas have been experiencing power outages, water shortages, and other impacts of the hurricane combined with institutional abuse and neglect. Information is slow to get out. If you have a loved one incarcerated in the area who has been impacted by the hurricane, please get in touch with us as fighttoxicprisons@gmail.com

Here is what we know as of now:

Reports have come in from immigrant detainees at Jackson Parish Correctional Center who have experienced flooding, been without food for at least two days, and some have been locked outside despite extreme heat. Even prior to this, detainees (including covid patients with asthma) have been without air conditioning, locked in their rooms without air circulation or windows. There have also been reports of discrimination against non-English speaking detainees. Similar reports are emerging from Lasalle Correctional Center.

Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Departments admitted that detainees staged protests against the appalling conditions within the facility. While the Sheriffs Department stated that protests have been ‘squashed and activity is back to normal’, we know this ‘normal’ is a cover up for their continued neglect and abuse. 

If the Jackson Parish Correctional Center had been evacuated in the days leading up to the hurricane, this could have been avoided. We know that most deaths of incarcerated people in hurricanes occur in the days and weeks following the storm, and there is still time to keep folks safe. Families have asked that we call the facilities and apply pressure. We have included a few additional targets. Make sure those in power know we are still watching them.

DEMAND HUMANE TREATMENT IN THE AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE LAURA:

Update (8/31 2:35pm CST] In less than 4 hours, many of these phone numbers have been disconnected by the administrations in an effort to evade public accountability. This is a sign that the pressure is working! For now let’s focus on e-mailing and writing complaints to: (scroll to the bottom of this page for a letter template)

abrown@jacksonparishsheriff.com

DHSOIGHOTLINE@DHS.GOV

Who to Call:

Press should contact Bryan Cox: (504) 329-2588

(Bryan’s mailbox is full but members of the press, including independent media, are encouraged to text him at the same number 😉

Jackson Parish Correctional Center:
(318) 259-4742

Jackson Parish Sheriff Office: (Ask to speak with Andy Brown)

Write Andy a letter: 500 East Court Street, Room 100 Jonesboro, LA 71251

Phone: 318.259.9021
FAX: 318.259.8268

Email: abrown@jacksonparishsheriff.com

LaSalle Correctional Center

Write a letter: 15976 US HWY 165, OLLA, LA 71465

(318) 495-6200

LaSalle Correction Management Office

Write a letter: 192 Bastille Lane, Suite 200 Ruston, LA 71270

T: (318) 232-1500

F: (318) 232-1501 

Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General:

Write a letter: Attn: Office of Investigations – Hotline 245 Murray Drive, Building 410 Stop: 2600, Washington, DC 20528

Ask to submit a report (do not give them any personal info you are not comfortable with)

Call: 1-800-323-8603

​Fax: 202-254-4292

DHSOIGHOTLINE@DHS.GOV

Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, New Orleans:

Office of the Principal Legal Advisor, 1250 Poydras Street, Suite 2100, New Orleans,  LA,  70113

Phone: (504) 599-7938

Contact the ICE Field Office Director at: Field Office Director, Enforcement and Removal Operations U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 1250 Poydras Suite 325, New Orleans, LA 70113

Write the Office of Professional Responsibility: Director, Office of Professional Responsibility U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement P.O. Box 14475 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington, D.C. 20044

What To Say:

Suggested Call Script:

“Hello, I was recently made aware that immigrant detainees in Jackson Parish were not evacuated during Hurricane Laura and are now dealing with flooding, water and food shortages. Some people have even been locked outside in extreme heat. Prior to this disaster, there were already complaints of medical abuse and discrimination amidst the COVID19 pandemic. Now we are even more concerned about the safety of those inside. I demand that you ensure immediate and adequate food, water, and medical care to people detained in Jackson Parish, and I will continue calling to follow up.”

Please report any new info from calls or e-mails to us at fighttoxicprisons@gmail.com

LETTER TEMPLATE:

To Whom It May Concern: 

I am writing to demand that the Jackson Parish and LaSalle Correctional Centers immediately provide sufficient water and food to all detainees housed at these facilities. I am also writing to demand that detainees be allowed access to air-conditioning, and allotted time outside (at least ~1-2 hours) each day, to get fresh air. A disaster relief organization that has been responding to hurricanes since Katrina, Mutual Aid Disaster Relief, has offered to provide supplies to detainees in Jackson Parish but the facility has refused to accept these donations. I urge you to accept and distribute those supply donations from Mutual Aid Disaster Relief and other concerned loved ones immediately. I also urge you to provide translations/interpreters for non-English speaking detainees and end discriminatory practices towards them immediately.

Direct reports are coming in from people inside saying that detainees have been without food for over two days. Democracy Now! reported ‘unliveable conditions’ on August 31st, 2020, including the facilities being flooded with urine and feces, and some detainees being locked outside overnight during extreme weather. This is a huge public health crisis and we are appalled at the level of cruel and unusual punishment exhibited by ICE in the wake of Hurricane Laura. Even prior to this disaster, despite extreme heat, detainees have been without air conditioning, locked in their rooms without air circulation or windows – some suffering from COVID-19 and asthma. If the power outage issue has been fixed as noted in the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Department’s social media posts, there is no reason to withhold air conditioning from detainees in the extreme heat of late summer.

Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Department admitted that detainees staged protests against the appalling conditions within the facility. While the Sheriff’s Department stated that protests have been ‘squashed and activity is back to normal,’ we know this normal is simply a return to neglect and abuse. We know the neglect and abuse that detainees face will continue to come down even harder on non-English speaking detainees and we are watching, and listening.

If the Jackson Parish Correctional Center had been evacuated in the days leading up to the hurricane, following proper disaster-prep protocol, this could have been avoided. Before the next hurricane season, it is imperative that Jackson Parish Correctional Center implement a permanent evacuation procedure that protects detainees in this facility from all future hurricanes, and the severe cases of abuse and neglect that follow.

Image Credit: Maria Asuncion Bilbao

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