The costs of many prison phone calls are set to drop over the next couple of years.
The Louisiana Public Service Commission agreed Wednesday to a revamped proposal that will shrink the price tag for prisoners to call home, after complaints that current rates were too high and burdensome on poor families.
The PSC unanimously agreed to cut the rates charged for prison calls by about 25 percent when a prisoner is calling family, legal counsel, clergy or certain government agencies like schools. All surcharges will be removed.
When a prisoner calls home to talk to his mother, son, or daughter, that call costs his family about 15 times more than it would if the same number were dialed outside the prison walls. These costs vary from one jail to the next, but every Louisiana prison receives a hefty kickback from the collect phone calls inmates make simply to stay in touch with their friends and families.
The U.S. Justice Department is asking to join a class action lawsuit that accuses Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman of overseeing a jail that routinely subjects prisoners to brutal, inhumane conditions.
The federal agency filed a request Monday in federal court, asking to be included as a plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in April by the Southern Poverty Law Center contending the jail's conditions violate the U.S. Constitution.
To see if detained immigrants are being locked up unlawfully for long periods of time, a civil rights group is seeking to get the Vermilion Parish sheriff to turn over documents on immigrants who've been jailed since 2009.
The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit against Sheriff Mike Couvillon Wednesday. The group says the sheriff has refused to hand over the documents, citing privacy concerns.
The group charges sheriff's offices may be holding immigrants longer than federal law permits.
A 32-year-old counselor at the Bridge City Center for Youth has been arrested after authorities discovered she had improper contact with one of youths held at the facility.
The Times-Picayune reports Shantel Fitzgerald of New Orleans was booked Friday with sexual malfeasance in a prison after it was determined she had a sexual relationship with an inmate at the facility. Fitzgerald was taken into custody after an investigation by the state Department of Juvenile Justice, but has since been released.
A Jefferson Parish man serving life in prison for raping a woman when he was 15 years old is now eligible for parole under a state law passed this year in response to a U.S. Supreme Court order.
The Times-Picayune reports 46-year-old Jerome Richardson is the first of 10 juvenile lifers who were prosecuted as adults in Jefferson Parish of crimes other than murder whose sentences are modified under the new law that became effective Aug. 1.
Richardson has served about 30 years of the life sentence for a 1981 aggravated rape conviction.