There’s nothing wrong with making prisoners work in order to pay the costs of their incarceration. There’s also nothing wrong with keeping prisoners locked up until their sentences are over.
Louisiana is planning to release some prisoners early.
That’s where Sheriff Steve Prattor comes in.
Last week, Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator blasted the state’s Justice Reinvestment Package, a series of bills passed in June that could reduce Louisiana’s prison population by 10 percent and save more than $260 million over the next decade by slowly releasing nonviolent offenders. The legislation is set to go into effect on Nov. 1 and would authorize the early release of 1,400 prisoners across 21 parishes in the state.
Just 35 prisoners would be immediately released in Caddo Parish, but that seems to be too many for Prator, who said the state needs them to “wash cars.”
“In addition to the bad ones … they’re releasing some good ones that we use every day to wash cars, to change oil in the cars, to cook in the kitchen, to do all that where we save money,” he continued. “Well, they’re going to let them out ― the ones that we use in work release programs.”
Marjorie Esman, executive director for the ACLU of Louisiana, told HuffPost that Prator’s desire to keep prisoners purely for their free labor is “essentially slavery.”
“The purpose of the criminal justice system is to keep the community safe and to make sure that nobody is incarcerated any longer than necessary,” Esman said. “It’s certainly not to provide free labor for law enforcement officials ― that is essentially slavery. It is obviously not only ludicrous but a gross violation of people’s rights.”
Prator went on to say that the state is “risking our safety for bragging rights and to save money.”
The “bragging rights” Prator might be referring to is Louisiana’s desire to relinquish its spot as the U.S. state with the highest incarceration rate.
Louisana’s blacks are among the blackest, lowest IQ, least able to control themselves blacks in America. If the incarceration rate is high, it’s because blacks are so crime prone and there are so many of them in Louisiana.
“Louisiana is somewhat of a special case just because it has such a substantial proportion of its state prison population being held in local jails,” Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, told HuffPost. “This has been going on for a very long time, and many of the local sheriffs welcome it because it’s bringing more money into their jurisdictions. It’s one of a number of factors that have contributed to Louisiana being a national leader in its use of imprisonment, and that’s nothing to be proud of.”
Angel Harris, assistant council for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said she was “shocked” that an elected official like Prator would make such a “callous” and “disturbing” comment.
“[Prator] is talking directly about economic exploitation of human beings, which is one of the biggest issues in our criminal justice systems,” Harris told HuffPost. “It’s almost as if he forgets that he’s talking about human beings ― like he’s speaking about animals or cattle.”
Sheriff Prator knows his blacks.