corrections

Louisiana State Penitentiary Warden Burl Cain says he'd never heard of an inmate breaking out of jail just to seek a transfer to another prison, but that's what a New Orleans offender serving time for armed robbery attempted early Friday.

Cain tells The Advocate he received a call around 12:40 a.m. at his residence about a prison break at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel.

A 26-year-old man who escaped from the St. Tammany Parish jail has been arrested along with his girlfriend in a hotel in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Authorities say Anthony Lance Alexius walked away from his work detail in the kitchen of the parish jail at approximately 11:15 a.m. Sunday.

Officials believe he was picked up by Melissa Ann Beck outside the kitchen.

Alexius and Beck were arrested without incident Sunday night and were booked by Hattiesburg police as fugitives.

The new attorneys for the only Angola inmate still facing trial in the 1999 beating and stabbing death of a prison security officer told a state judge they probably will file a motion to postpone their client's trial.

The Advocate reports the trial for Barry Edge, who already is serving a life sentence for second-degree murder, is scheduled to begin Jan. 17.

Defense attorney Steve Lemoine told retired Orleans Parish Judge Jerome M. Winsberg Friday that he sees problems in getting the case together.

With the St. James Juvenile Detention Center set to close next year, officials are eyeing alternatives for housing juvenile offenders.

St. James Parish officials say they will close the detention center at the end of June because new state regulations would make it more expensive to keep the facility open.

The Advocate reports that Assumption Parish officials say they can fill the void and house juvenile offenders from an eight-parish area at a converted adult detention center in Napoleonville.

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.

The City of New Orleans is reviewing a consent decree designed to revamp operations at the parish jail. Federal officials are looking to the city to correct conditions they found unconstitutional.

The New Orleans jail now has a plan to fix its troubled record of inmate violence and staff misconduct. The problem now is how to pay for improvements.

Eve Abrams / WWNO

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.

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