[JURIST] Lawyers acting on behalf of former New Orleans prisoners have filed papers asking the US Department of Justice [official site] to immediately assume direct supervision over a temporary holding facility at a closed juvenile prison in Jena, Louisiana, the source of more than two dozen complaints of prisoner abuse. Other affidavits filed by defense lawyers based on hundreds of inmate interviews claim widespread abuse by Louisiana prison guards in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina [JURIST archive]. The affidavits allege that prison guards beat, starved, and verbally abused prisoners, forced them to perform sex acts, and locked them in holding cells while floodwaters rose around their necks. Many inmates are still in custody five weeks or more after being charged with minor crimes where they normally would have been released within a few days of arrest. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections [official website; Katrina-related press releases] says that it has received no complaints of abuse and has praised the work of Corrections employees during prisoner evacuations [LDPSC releaae]. The New York Times has more.
Previously in JURIST's Paper Chase: