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August 11, 2006

ACLU reports on neglect of prisoners during Katrina

The American Civil Liberties Union has released a report on the neglect and abandonment of inmates at Orleans Parish Prison during Hurricane Katrina.

The inmates' ordeal began when authorities defied the Mayor's mandatory evacuation order. Prisoners and guards were left to weather the hurricane in New Orleans. Some guards abandoned inmates in their cells when the hurricane struck, others were left locked into their posts. The inmates spent several days in chest-deep water without food, clean water, or ventilation. When they were finally evacuated by order of the State, many were bussed to an open yard where they were kept for days without adequate food, medical care, or shelter. The authorities dumped all the inmates in the same corral, without regard for their safety. People doing time for unpaid traffic tickets were tossed into the same pen as murderers and rapists. When prisoners assaulted each other, the guards did not intervene to stop the violence.

The full report on Orleans Parish Prison and Katrina is available online.


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Oh boy. How do you explain this to the wingnut, hang-'em-high mindset? "Ok, so you don't think standing in chest deep water for a couple days is cruel, you will have to admit it is unusual, no?"

Our responsibility in an emergency is to take care of those who are most vulnerable: old ladies in wheelchairs, babies, the demented, puppies and kittens, and, yes, people in cages.

Exactly. As if abandoning prisoners weren't reprehensible enough, the authorities also took it upon themselves to imprison the guards to keep them from walking off the job during the hurricane.

Talk about classist bullshit. Nobody tried to lock doctors and nurses into the hospitals to keep them from "defecting" during the storm. Somehow, the powers that be thought it was okay to lock up their own employees in rising water to keep them from fleeing for their lives.

I hope the guards and the prisoners get together and sue the bastards.

Locking the guards in! Shades of the fire in the Imperial Food Products plant in Hamlet, North Carolina where the fire exit was chained shut.
I'll bet Attn. Gen. Gonzales is all over this.

Lindsay - I've never posted here because you always have things more than well in hand... (I'm serious - this thread is no different)

But this topic got me. I am still trying to understand where my country went so wrong.

I know philosophy and logic are your strengths, and the whole Katrina thing has always baffled me. This topic was just added insult.

Can any sense be made of any of the stupid stuff that was done here? (by Bush, etc.)

(PS, like your pictures of Amanda in NY... :)

I also left a post for you on Amanda's site but it's still in moderation (nothing bad...)

Mike, regarding the pronunciation of my last name, it's pronounced "bi-Yer-steen"--but I answer to just about any conceivable phonetic approximation, the most common being Bayer-Stein, or Buyer-Stein. (OT, but I felt a little weird answering your question on Amanda's thread.)

Lindsay, thanks for the answer! It helps me be a little less ignorant...

Now if you can just solve the whole "why is America no longer a country to be proud of" thing, then we can make some progress... :)

I stumbled across your blog while I was doing some online research. I am absolutely horrified by this report. I cannot even imagine what these poor people went through. And we call ourselves humane?

Absolutely horrible, but what sickened me the most was actually the normal workings of the prison, the entire system is like straight from some dystopian fiction. That things dissolved into chaos during a disaster is, though still unforgivable, somewhat understandable but that the sheriffs primary interest is to profiteer of the inmates is beyond description. Throw due process out the window, keep the prison filled and the cash flowing...

Now if you can just solve the whole "why is America no longer a country to be proud of" thing, then we can make some progress... :)

Because for decades, the US was able to sweep all of its darker sides under the carpet, whereas now it has a President who's too blatant to hide things.

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