The Latest: Corrections officials say progress being made
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on a survey of solitary confinement prisoners by criminal justice advocacy groups in Louisiana (all times local):
Louisiana corrections officials say they are making progress in reducing the use of restrictive housing — often called solitary confinement — in state prisons.
And they called criminal justice advocates’ release of a prisoner survey Tuesday “propaganda based on a non-scientific survey.”
Officials dispute some inmates’ claims that they are never let out of their cells. And they pushed back against claims that medical care is neglected.
The state’s latest figures show 1,184 inmates are in restrictive housing — about 3.75% of the inmate population. That’s lower than figures from recent years cited in Tuesday’s report.
Loyola University’s Jesuit Social Research Institute, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana and the organization Solitary Watch released the report. It’s part of a push to greatly reduce solitary confinement.
Criminal justice advocates in Louisiana have launched a campaign to drastically reduce the use of solitary confinement in state prisons.
Key to that effort is Tuesday’s release of a survey of 700 prisoners who said they were held in “restrictive housing,” sometimes for years. They described filthy conditions, extreme temperatures and inhumane treatment. They also reported increased anxiety, depression or other mental issues.
Loyola University’s Jesuit Social Research Institute, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana and the organization Solitary Watch released the report at Loyola. Among those taking part was former prisoner Albert Woodfox who described over 44 years in solitary. Woodfox likened solitary confinement to torture and says he suffers from claustrophobia and disorientation as a result.
A response was expected later Tuesday from corrections officials.