2024 Department of Corrections Budget Breakdown 🕵🏽

Have you read the 2024 DOC Budget? We have. And we think you should too. Or at least some highlights. Snag our full 2024 DOC Budget Explainer, on our website: https://www.voiceoftheexperienced.org/s/2024_03-DOC-Budget-Explainer.pdf.

Our hope is to make the DOC Budget more transparent and accessible for our community including legislators, elected officials, media, reporters and investigators. We should all know where our tax dollars are and are not going. If our budgets are moral documents, let’s see where our morals lie.



Budget documents are one of the best ways to cut through the chatter and get down to the numbers. What are we trying to do, and how much are we spending on it? From the time Gov. Jeff Landry ran for office to the time he celebrated his “special crime” legislation, one would guess a few things based on not just his words and deeds, but the people around him.  

First, they believe that the way to prevent crime is to ensure someone is convicted, incarcerated, and not released for as long as possible so they can commit no more crimes (at least not until released). Second, they don’t believe in the concept of rehabilitation, change, second chances and helping people assimilate back into society. Finally, they are willing to write a blank check to achieve goal number one. With that said, it is increasingly difficult to understand the mission of the Department of Corrections if it reverts into a place of hopeless and brutal punishment that incites more crime than it prevents.  

What follows is a look into the overall funding, a framing of the incarceration industry as a Louisiana employer, and the peculiar usage of local jails to handle a state obligation. Download the full budget here

Despite the number of people incarcerated going down since the 2009 – 2012 peak, the cost of locking people up continues to climb past $1 billion dollars and beyond. 

One look at the overall budget, and it is clear prisons are a massive part of the statewide budget and are at no risk of being cut. 

To cover up this major expense, politicians might seek to focus on “user fees,” such as probation fees, canteen profits, telephone kickbacks, or medical co-pays. 

The users, however, are overwhelmingly penniless and it never adds up to any substantial percentage of the budget. 


Why is incarceration so steep? The majority of funding goes to staffing expenses (more on that below), and to the thousands of retired staff who continue collecting a pension. Unfunded Accrued Liability (“UAL”) is not our expertise, but this is the amount of expected monies owed that do not have funds set aside. You can see that the Corrections budget has over $103 million (18%) going to UAL and retiree’s insurance.  

Another major cost is medical care for patients in prison. According to the DOC, in their legislative presentation, total medical care spending is “somewhere around $100 million.” The monies are partly found in bills for people sent to the outside doctors, partly in the particular facility’s budget, and partly paid out to the local jails where people are detained.  

The Legislature’s 2024 Special Crime Session passed several new laws that should make the medical costs skyrocket as people get older. Eliminating parole (including medical and geriatric) and major cuts to Good Time credits will increase sentences. Narrowing parole for people already inside (unanimous parole decision) will turn other people’s sentences into Death Sentences. 

The Lewis v. Cain case on Angola’s unconstitutional health care is forcing that institution under federal receivership. Costs will go up as care becomes legitimate. And lawsuits should begin against every facility that houses people, as none of them provide anything close to a reasonable standard of care. 

In the Corrections budgets, you will see them broken out by the overall statewide administration, and then each of the facilities in the system. The Louisiana State Penitentiary, AKA Angola, has the most incarcerated people who are the oldest and most likely to die in custody. Every facility budget has a few things that stand out: 

  • Office of Risk Management fees (Angola: $12.9m) 
  • Medical services ($1.1m) 
  • Vehicle financing payments ($1m) 

Angola also has $1.6m going to Badge Ferry, which likely refers to the prison ferry that crosses the Mississippi River for employees. It is unclear if that ferry still operates, and it is well known most of the staff live at the penitentiary itself.  Angola’s budget is also peculiar in having costs for putting on the infamous rodeo, but it is unclear where the profits from these weekends fit into the budget. Meanwhile, every facility will put in costs for purchasing canteen supplies; however, if this is referring to the items incarcerated people are buying with their own funds, we know the prison runs an overall profit on that exchange. 

Looking at the overall summary, it is clear that another big piece is keeping the buildings functional, constitutionally compliant, and large enough to handle the influx of people. One shrinking part of the budget is in regard to Winn Correctional Center. In the Feb. 28 budget presentation at the Senate Finance Committee, it was noted that this prison is being leased out to the sheriff in Winn, “for about a million dollars.” It isn’t clear where that million is reflected. DOC Undersecretary Bickham explained to the House Appropriations Committee (March 6, 2024) that there is a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement in place, and the state can take control back from the Sheriff at any time, with roughly six months’ notice. 


According to the budget report, the mission of Winn Correctional Center is to ”house offenders for the Louisiana Department of Corrections.” However, it isn’t doing that. Instead, they are renting the beds out to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). During the Trump Administration’s massive border detention crackdown (which neither turned people back nor let them stay free pending their administrative hearing) Louisiana rented bed space to ICE for nearly 10,000 detainees. This is likely a large reason why the sheriffs had no qualms with the prison system contracting the way it did. The Feds pay a much higher rate per person. With that number coming down quite a bit, perhaps this contributes to why Gov. Landry deployed our National Guard to the Mexican border. 

We are unsure why ICE or Winn Parish Sheriff, who uses LaSalle Corrections to administrate the prison, would want to obscure any details in a contract between two public entities, but it appears that somewhere around $65m is transferred between federal public funds to Winn, according to the Sheriff’s budget report. The entire parish population is only 13,755, and likely includes the number of incarcerated people. It is easy to see why a sheriff’s $14m payroll, pensions, plus local contracts contribute to political influence. 

You may be wondering: Can the state lease out one of its facilities to a sheriff, who can then turn a profit with the federal government? And then pay for some incarcerated workers to help staff the facility? 

It’s important to understand the relationship between state and local facilities. These parish jails were built in bulk during a time when the state subsidized construction costs and guaranteed the population to be detained. A great summary of this process is in “Prison Capital” (2023) by Lydia Pelot-Hobbes, who was a recent guest on the “From Chains to Change” podcast (listen here). 

When the state facilities are bursting, the overflow goes to local jails run by sheriffs, with a per diem paid (less than half of what ICE pays the Winn Sheriff). Traditionally, the state/local balance was about 50/50, but taking Winn offline for state incarceration has led to the local jails holding more than the state prisons. While our prisons report only 781 total vacancies, and only 21 releases per day, the local housing has 7,322 vacancies. And naturally, the budget is confusing as to whether Winn is a state or local facility. 

At times, this math does not add up. Rep. Kimberly Coates (D-73) of Tangiapahoa brought up a dilemma in her parish. The local jail is full of state prisoners, for which the sheriff collects the per diem from the state. Meanwhile, there is not enough room for locally arrested people. This forces the parish (not the Sheriff) to pay $800,000 to ship these people out to other jails. 

Also noteworthy in the above graphic are the 1,456 “Re-entry participants” at regional programs inside the local jails. This is a fraction of the 11,870 people serving state time, but part of the programming funded by the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI). For those clamoring “JRI didn’t work,” we never once heard them criticize the sheriffs and their programming.  

The state has an operational carceral capacity of 14,359 (not including Winn), and 13,505 people are housed. Local jails, on the other hand, can hold 39,617 people, and only 12,885 are being held pre-trial. It is clear who stands to gain by decreasing the use of bail, increasing probation and parole violations, and lengthening sentences. And we also are unlikely to see them give back the $26m in savings from JRI. 

With the state prisons relatively stable in population, unless Winn’s lease is canceled, it is the local jails, run by sheriffs, whose funding was in jeopardy by increasing rehabilitation, decreasing recidivism, providing reentry support, scaling back discrimination, and downsizing prisons. The JRI funding to sheriffs was tailored to garner their support. 

For details on Industry Employment (p.11), Costs Beyond The Jail (p.16), and more, read our full explainer: https://www.voiceoftheexperienced.org/s/2024_03-DOC-Budget-Explainer.pdf.

“Crime Session” Recap: Week One

Week One wrapped this Friday and we have thoughts

This Governor and Legislature is reminiscent of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and their legislature in the days after October 7. There is a complete disregard for history and circumstances that precipitated the situation, and comprehensive problem solving has been replaced with blind rage and a violent counterattack. This session is about crime “reaction,” and nothing about crime “prevention.” 

Consider the bills, actions, and statements in totality: 

New Orleans will be occupied by a second layer of state police whose arrests will be handled by the state Attorney General. A message to law enforcement that they will have immunity from prosecution or lawsuits regarding brutality and rights violations (HB 2, SB 6). A State of Emergency was declared to allocate additional funding to hire more police and alleviate any restrictions on hiring them too quickly or without proper training. Meanwhile, a deployment of the National Guard to Texas indicates how quickly the Governor is to expend our resources on ideological pursuits.  

Police saturation is not based on any data correlation with safety and crime. Louisiana has more law enforcement per capita than anywhere in the world, including a police station inside the French Quarter (next to the Louisiana Supreme Court) and a second police station bordering the Quarter. Crime rates, which is the percentage likelihood that someone will fall victim of a crime, do not account for New Orleans commuters and visitors; thus, all of those “high” rates (based on number of residents) are false. Millions of visitors come and go without being scared, but that is not likely to be true if New Orleans begins to resemble the Palestinian West Bank. 

Thursday night Rep. Jason Hughes gave an impassioned speech pushing back on the characterization of New Orleans as a “wild west” place to fear, and questioned the details around the State Police “Troop” to be stationed in New Orleans. 

The expansion of Drug Court testing (HB 3) was a promising bill, however the hearing suggests this is simply a method of transferring millions of Opioid Litigation Settlement funds into the hands of sheriffs who will drug test everyone who gets booked into the jail. There is no talk of expanding Drug Court or expanding treatment, both of which are already at capacity, and there are no quality controls in place with sheriffs in Louisiana. Thus, it will be a handout, and testing will be relatively meaningless.  

Continue reading “Crime Session” Recap: Week One

A Breakdown of All the Proposed LA “Crime Session” Bills

By Deputy Director Bruce Reilly

The Louisiana Legislature’s special “Crime Session” begins on Monday, February 19th, with committee hearings expected to happen on Tuesday and Wednesday. With the rules being suspended, a bill can pass out of committee in the morning and be heard on the Floor that afternoon. The next day it is likely in committee in the opposite chamber, with the process repeating. 

Twenty-four bills were filed in five committees, with half of them in the House Administration of Criminal Justice. See them all in VOTE’s 2024 Bill Tracker here

Below is a summary of the bills, organized by category, the largest being “Extending Sentences.” 


HB 1 requires court clerks to report all their docket entries to a public portal, including hearing dates, counsel of record, charges, bond set, sentences, continuances, and names of judges. This applies to all adult courts and juvenile cases in violent crimes and/or someone facing a second felony. Posting a juvenile’s pretrial information (while still holding the presumption of innocence) may violate a child’s right to privacy, and that will likely incite numerous lawsuits. This will be a very costly portal to create and maintain, all so people can easily look-up an arrest record of every Louisianan. HUD, and the FTC (who oversees background check databases under the Fair Credit Reporting Act) have on multiple occasions explained that arrests are not to be used as indicators of guilt, so it will be interesting to see how the state law “immunity” clause (for the Clerks of Court) plays out in federal court when someone sues a housing provider or employer for discrimination. 

Law Enforcement 

HB 2 and SB 6 limit law enforcement liability to actions that are criminal, fraudulent, or intentional misconduct. Considering nobody ever won a liability case against a police officer without proving one of those things, these bills are performative, with no real impact. Any officer accused of misconduct will still require a hearing to decide if it is “intentional.” SB 6 also bars any liability if the complainant is convicted of a crime. Thus, as long as there is a conviction, a police officer can violate someone’s rights in any number of ways. It is unclear how this intersects with criminal misconduct, or if a petty conviction will bury any and all abuses. Most people will file such a claim in federal court, where such a waiver will carry no weight. 

Drug Court 

HB 3: Mandatory drug testing and screening for specialty courts (by licensed professionals) is well intentioned. The actual impact on addiction recovery is far from clear. First, someone’s intoxication level within 24 hours of arrest is not a clear indication of their substance use, nor even if they were intoxicated while allegedly committing a crime. Drug Courts typically sentence people to an intensive outpatient regimen, and drug testing, over an 8-year probation term. Recovery and relapse are intertwined, thus the level of punishment (or support) someone receives if they slip up is the difference between Drug Court as a successful therapeutic model or simply as a gateway to prison. Having data on the preexisting Drug Court cases, including firsthand testimony, would help clarify the likely outcomes of expansion. Realistically, Louisiana can turn about a third of all judgeships into “drug court” if they truly want to handle the intersection between the desperation of drug use and crime. To tackle it correctly, however, we need an army of health care providers, treatment facilities, and medication assisted treatment. If the threat of prison alone kept us sober, we would be the straightest population on the planet. 

Wrongful Convictions 

HB 4 forces district attorneys and judges to object when a person files a post-conviction appeal that is after the filing deadline, if it had been heard before, or if over a year has passed since uncovering newly discovered evidence. This takes the discretion from judges and prosecutors who would only be allowing the case to be heard if they had serious doubts about the legitimacy of the conviction. It is a peculiar bill considering how often legislators say, “they trust their district attorney.” 

Extending Sentences 

HB 9 is the big one, as it eliminates parole eligibility on all crimes happening after 8/1/24, except for juvenile Lifers. The price tag on this will be enormous, including the medical costs, especially if it is determined that it overrides medical furloughs and release. 

SB 5 impacts all the parole-eligible people currently in prison and requires a board to be a unanimous vote for release. One member of the board could single-handedly block every release. The bill also requires someone to go 3 years without a serious discipline infraction, rather than the current 2 years. The parole board only releases about 2% of the 15,000 people who get out every year, each of them typically showcasing impeccable behavior and an impressive institutional resume. For people with extreme sentences, it is typically the only way they can be released. The bill also makes someone wait an additional 4 years after denial to be reconsidered. The final paragraph of the bill, although slightly vague, suggests the Board will have the power to rescind any parole decision at any time in the future “for any reason deemed appropriate by the committee.” This may run afoul of the Supreme Court’s principles in Morrissey v. Brewer, and how Due Process (not the whims of a king) govern such a liberty interest. 

HB 5 adds a 61st crime to the list of “violent crimes” (R.S. 14(2)(b), which are then ineligible for things such as Good Time or parole and become enhancers for Habitual Offender multipliers. The law defines â€śillegal use of weapons or dangerous instrumentalities” as an illegal or negligent discharge of a firearm (or use of an article or substance) where it is foreseeable that it may result in death or great bodily harm. Another example of how many ways someone can be charged for the same action. 

HB 7 essentially doubles the sentences for carjacking, with mandatory minimums of 5 years where no serious injury and 20 years with serious injury. It raises the maximums to 20 and 30 years respectively. 

HB 8 creates a 25-year mandatory minimum for a “detectable amount” of fentanyl whenever it is added to something that is “attractive to minors.” This vague phrase includes things that are in the shape of animals, vehicles, or candy. It is difficult to imagine this law holding up in court, if it is used, considering that basic adult vitamins, for example, look like candy. More to the point, however, this is another example of how we are punishing our community members who have an addiction problem rather than providing opioid antagonists and residential treatment. A 30-year-old parent who gets hooked on fentanyl won’t be eligible for release until they are 55 in this scenario. 

HB 10 mandates that sentences after 8/1/24 will earn a maximum of 15% Good Time credits. This means that, if they do not get any write-ups, they will serve 85% before being released on Good Time Parole Supervision (GTPS). With the elimination of discretionary parole eligibility under HB 9, this will be the only path to release short of 100% of a sentence. People sentenced to 40 years or more will likely die in prison. This bill also ends Good Time credits for people on parole. If they are violated, they will serve the full-term in prison, with no credit for time on the street. This may result in people turning down GTPS release altogether. 

HB 11 increases the maximum probation term from 3 years to 5 (except Drug Court, which can be 8). Based on data and research, this term was reduced because by year 4, people had generally either succeeded or failed. The extra years were simply unnecessary labor for probation officers, and subjected people to petty infractions and fees rather than being able to move on. The bill also increases the penalties for technical violations: up to 90 days in jail. It also reduces what is a “technical” violation, including how an “attempted misdemeanor” would be subject to a full revocation instead. Its unclear what would be good examples of such an act. 

HB 13 pushes for anyone convicted of a violent crime while in prison to lose all their Good Time. This bill seems redundant, particularly if someone is earning just a small amount under HB 10. Good Time credits can already be deducted by a disciplinary action without needing the trouble of a trial and conviction for assaulting someone. 

HB 14 “Dangerous Offender” bill is redundant to HB 10, which would require everyone to serve at least 85% before GTPS release. Under this bill, a judge can deem someone a “dangerous offender” if they have one prior conviction for violence, sex, or drug distribution. This would require them to serve 85% of their time. 


SB 3 reverses the “Raise the Age” law which puts 17-year-old kids in the juvenile system. The law took five years to phase in, but Louisiana did nothing to expand the juvenile system to absorb those court cases and kids in custody. With extra space in adult jails and prisons, Louisiana prefers to return to the old ways. This change complicates things for wardens who must keep the 17-year-olds separate from the actual adults and coincides with Louisiana building more juvenile prisons. Thus, there will be even more space for 14-16 year olds across the state in a system with 300% turnover in their staff and a newly appointed head of the Office of Juvenile Justice who was notoriously involved in sexual abuse scandal with the kids. 

SB 4 will make it more difficult for kids to get a second chance through the courts. Any child seeking a sentence modification must serve at least 3 years in prison (or 2/3 the sentence if shorter than 3 years). This will prevent judges from recognizing positive rehabilitative changes amongst children who are deep in their developmental stage. 

Death Penalty 

HB 5 creates absolute secrecy over who executes the people on Death Row and where they get the lethal substances. It also adds nitrogen hypoxia as an approved method of killing someone. Realistically, it should be the Governor who executes a person, as they alone have the power to not kill someone. 

Indigent Defense 

SB 8 moves public defenders from the independent “Board” into an executive state office. The Governor would appoint a head of the office who has 20 years’ experience as a barred attorney, with 7 years in criminal defense. This would be more experience required than the Attorney General and Louisiana judges, and it isn’t clear how the 7 years in defense would be calculated. The extreme requirement is likely intentional. The Chief Defender would hire an executive staff, and then contract with local head public defenders who (apparently) are nominated by a selection committee of one lawyer and two registered voters. It remains to be seen (if passed) who would be providing the constitutionally guaranteed right to effective defense counsel, and how flush (or starved) their budgets. It is likely that lawsuits are filed based on conflicts of interest and falling short of the 6th Amendment rights. For a chief executive who appoints the heads of the State Police and the Department of Corrections, a former Attorney General who successfully advocated for the State Police and A.G. to have criminal divisions in New Orleans (for starters): this has a massive appearance of impropriety. 


HB 12 and SB 1 make it so any 18-year-old can hide a gun under their jacket, even if they have a documented mental illness or substance use issue. The only people prevented would be those with a felony record. It will certainly cause distress for gas station employees, Lyft drivers, and others who may rightfully question the intention of someone packing heat. How police officers, security guards, and business owners react will range from strict “No guns allowed” signs to shooting anyone considered armed and dangerous. It is difficult to imagine there being less shootings in Louisiana under such a law. 

SB 2 takes away liability for conceal carry owners unless there is gross negligence, intentional misconduct, or a criminal act. This would put the onus on courts and juries to define gross negligence if an unlocked gun is stolen and used criminally.  


HB 15 is a reasonable amendment to the law. The 6-year time limit to charge someone for 3rd Degree Rape does not begin until after the crime is discovered by the victim. 

SB 7 increases the usage of ignition interlock devices for DWI punishments. The sentence for .08 (the standard for “drunk driving”) from 90 days to 180. Realistically, DWI laws are among the few criminal laws that take a reasonable approach to balancing freedom, the right to work, and accountability for a dangerous situation. If only all parts of the criminal code were addressed as such. 

Governor Landry has increased two parts of the state budget: prisons and the state police. He also recently issued a state of emergency that allows sheriffs to hire more people and receive more pay. The public concern about the incoming administration is well placed, as he continues to fight all regulations on clean air, clean water, and land pollution. It also appears public education and health care, already abysmal in Louisiana, are further on the chopping block. In a state so committed to force women to have babies, one might wonder what vision they have for such children. 

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated. Join us at the Capitol Tuesday, February 20th for our VOTE Crime Session Advocacy Day.

The 2022 Legislative Session Was Akin to a Dirty Election

Ronald Marshall speaks to VOTE members about the 2022 Legislative Session

As a formerly incarcerated man having served 25 years, I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the Louisiana State Capitol for the first time on March 14, 2022. I carried ideas of what to expect from studying the messiness of the law and engaging in Angola’s Special Civic Project on the inside, but couldn’t be sure my instincts were accurate until I sat in stoic disbelief inside my first committee hearing on the Administration of Criminal Justice.  

It was disheartening to witness the lack of empathy, inattention,  disconnection to the stories of impacted people, disrespect, character and community attacks, condescending tones, and discourtesy exhibited during committee hearings. It reminded me of ugly elections where one candidate uses a smear campaign, dirty name-calling, and reputation-debasing practices to destroy the character of the other. I saw these same election-origin practices employed inside legislative committees to defeat bills drafted to change policies that negatively impact formerly and currently incarcerated people.  

In my opinion, the Louisiana legislative session could have been remarkably pivotal in changing people’s lives for the better if opponents and legislators had worked together with VOTE and our allies to pass meaningful laws. We entered the session hoping to pass bills dealing with post-conviction relief for non-unanimous jury verdicts (HB 271, HB 744); parole consideration for juvenile and adult lifers (HB 730, HB 404); medical parole for very sick people (HB 728); fair housing for formerly incarcerated people (FIP) (HB 665, HB 663, substitute adopted in House Committee: HB 1063); eliminating medical co-pay fees in prison (HB 175); giving incarcerated people the right to vote for redistricting purposes, if they are counted in those districts (HB 846); creating jobs by legalizing the cultivation of marijuana and prohibiting discrimination against FIP when regulating the cannabis industry (HB 125, HB 430).  

At the start of the session, VOTE and our allies approached every table with the intention to solve obvious problems with current policies in housing, employment, voting, and the in-justice system. However, opponents approached the same table as if it was an election, with incumbents on one side, and challengers on the other. Rather than searching together for a common resolution to policy initiatives, opponents portrayed us and our allies’ bills as soft on crime, fiscally impossible, or having unintended consequences.

Continue reading The 2022 Legislative Session Was Akin to a Dirty Election

State v. Reddick Oral Arguments: Our Takeaways

Reginald Reddick’s family and legal team address the media at the the Louisiana Supreme Court on Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The surprising part about the State’s argument in favor of keeping people convicted under Jim Crow juries is how poorly it was crafted and defended. However, those of us who have been fighting the system know, even those of us who help a wrongfully convicted person be released after decades, that the State need not craft good arguments. The judges defend the State already. So the question becomes:

Did any of the oral arguments matter?

Either way, here are some nuggets:

The State rested its case on two major points: (1) There are no watershed new rules, i.e. there is nothing groundbreaking to change in the realm of our criminal legal system. (2) The Legislature is crafting a remedy, so the Court need not do anything.

First, although a unanimous jury system may not be groundbreaking for the rest of the country, it is certainly a “watershed” here. The ballot amendment, and then the Ramos decision, resulted in hundreds of people having convictions overturned, and resetting the bar for the thousands of trials to come. The State’s argument here is extremely weak. Up until 1978, a DA only needed to convince 9 out of 12 people to convict, and then from 1978 to 2019 needed ten. Jumping all the way to 12 is massive, and only now does “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” mean anything. And as Promise of Justice Initiative (PJI) lawyer Jamila Johnson pointed out, people are by our constitution: “Innocent until proven guilty.” Thus, “prove” is intended to have real meaning.

Second, the State lawyer repeatedly brought up HB 744, a bill that Chief Justice Weimer was clearly in the know about, a “compromise” remedy which would provide a possible parole option for the roughly 1500 people languishing behind bars because of non-unanimous juries. Just last week, Louisiana District Attorneys’ Association representative Loren Lampert assured the House Judiciary Committee that they would not argue to the Court that a remedy is on the way. As we noted in that judiciary committee hearing, moving HB 744 forward creates a false hope for everyone involved—including the LASC. And while Loren Lampert sat immediately behind the State’s lawyer, he didn’t make the 744 argument. His colleague did it for him.

Jamila responded with more realistic points: how late we are in the Legislative Session, how any bill would need to go through Appropriations, through the Senate, and likely need to return to the House for final passage. And quite importantly, how these “panels” never seem to work out anyway. More on HB 744—the False Hope bill—here

Continue reading State v. Reddick Oral Arguments: Our Takeaways

Opinion: Nothing to Laugh About, Jailbirds New Orleans Makes a Mockery of the Incarcerated

At VOTE we stand by our commitment to amplify the voices of our currently and formerly incarcerated family. As Louisiana has once again ranked above all other states as the most incarcerated place in America, we see a stronger need to dispel any form of illusions as to what serving time looks like.

I did not want to watch a “scandalous” reality TV show that follows a handful of women over a few days in jail. I figured it would be a bunch of people yelling at each other, arguing over the phone, and some patronizing morality play on a mother with addiction. But when the show is set in our jail, here in New Orleans, which is under a federal consent decree and being run by a shady sheriff in a re-election campaign, it was sadly my duty to watch and review.

Continue reading Opinion: Nothing to Laugh About, Jailbirds New Orleans Makes a Mockery of the Incarcerated