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Prisoners Left to Die in Jails

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posted on Aug, 11 2006 @ 01:26 PM
I just read this on the BBC

It turns out that prisoners, some put in jail for an intended single night, or weekend stay, were left in destroyed jails for up to 103 days.

"We were just left there to die," said Cardell Williams, a prisoner who spent two months in jail without ever being charged.

In the days before the hurricane, when other citizens of New Orleans were ordered to leave, city leaders were asked: "What about the prisoners in the jail?"

"The prisoners will stay where they belong," replied Marlin Gusman, the criminal sheriff in charge of the city jail.

So what happens with the next disaster, and the guy who was caught jaywalking?

Do you think the right decision was made in this case?

posted on Aug, 11 2006 @ 01:49 PM
It's a problem, no doubt about it. What happened in NO was pretty strange, it's not likely to happen often, but that's no excuse. Also consider that so much evidence was destroyed, so many witnesses displaced, and so few court workers/LEOs are available to handle the work, that most of the people locked up just prior to Katrina/Rita are likely to stay that way for quite some time.

People have to remember that most folks in local lock-ups haven't been convicted, most are still awaiting trial, and some haven't even been charged! There's no logical reason to hold them there, certainly not when it presents a danger to their safety. That's highly illegal, not to mention immoral. You couldn't build a jail on an active volcano and just shrug everytime an inmate succumbs to the fumes or the lava - it's the responsibility of the institution to protect its charges.

The cases that really steam me up are the ones where non-violent offenders are incarcerated while they await trial - often these folks end up doing more time in jail than they could possibly cop in the sentence.

And what's even worse than that is when people are picked up as crucial witnesses, and made to sit in jail while the DA gets the case together. It can be months..or years even, in rare cases. That's not justice...

There's no sense in using critical resources to chase after victimless crimes, like drug offenses. It's absolutely pointless, and it's a HUGE drain on resources. Budget shortfalls are ubiquitous in American towns and cities, the last thing they need to be doing is wasting millions on stupid crap like this.

Some links pertaining to the mess in NO, the ACLU report on the situation in the jail before, during, and after the storm, some info on the possibility that prisoners will be freed if they don't get a court date, and the skeletal structure of a plan to remedy the backlogs :

(Edited for clarity)

[edit on 11-8-2006 by WyrdeOne]

posted on Oct, 28 2006 @ 10:19 AM
I just saw the doc on the telly today; BBC is airing it here in SE Asia now.

Horrific!! Thought to do a thread on it. Checked first, was up, so I post here.

You know this guy, Marlin Gusman, the sheriff in charge of the city jail, who said, "The prisoners will stay where they belong," he was running for another term - and he won.

I just looked for a downloadlink, but couldn't find any.
Found this instead:

Prisoners of Katrina
Saturday 28 October @ 0710 GMT
Repeated: Saturday 28 October @ 1510 GMT, Sunday 29 October @ 0010, 1210 & 2010 GMT

A year after Hurricane Katrina, Prisoners of Katrina finds out what happened inside Orleans Parish Prison. In the chaotic days that followed Hurricane Katrina, the image of thousands of orange-clad prisoners crouching on a broken bridge - held at gunpoint by a few overstretched guards - was an unforgettable image.
This is the untold story of almost 7,000 inmates - some murderers and rapists, but others never even charged - who found themselves trapped in the city jail as it flooded. BBC reporter Olenka Frenkiel reports on a justice system already near to collapse, and on its final tipping point - Katrina.

Looks like they're broadcasting it worldwide RIGHT NOW!

Watch it! I can only recommend.

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