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Prisoner Update
by Southern Center for Human Rights Wednesday, Sep. 07, 2005 at 3:58 PM

Southern Center for Human Rights and Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children are trying to help families connect with locked-up children and adults.

Sept. 7

Dear folks with loved ones who were OPP or the youth detention centers in the New Orleans area,

(Those without a loved one in OPP or youth detention, please forward in any way you think may help reach individuals who have folks locked up in Orleans/Jefferon; this is not an efficient way to contacting people, but it is the best we have right now in a moment where there is no official information and no systems being set up to get info out about people who were locked up…sorry for cluttering mailboxes.)

I joined members of Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) these past few days walking through shelters in Louisiana and Texas trying to help families connect up with their children who had been locked up in detention centers and/or loved ones who had been in OPP.

Some info we gathered that may be helpful:

Adults in OPP or Gretna

Latest info is that all OPP prisoners who are still in state custody are currently being held at either Angola (225) 655-4411 or Hunts (225) 642-3306. Folks looking for their people should call those numbers and ask to speak to their loved ones directly. You will probably be told that’s not possible. If officials won’t connect you directly, demand that the prison official pass on a message, and then call back later in the day to confirm that the message has been passed on. There is word also that people who were being held at OPP on less than $1000 bond either will or could (depending on who you talk to) be released if a family calls and is able to provide some kind of address. Other family members have been told that records are not available yet, but once the computer system (?) is up, they intend on holding hearings in “a couple of weeks” to process releases.

We have not been able to find out how many of the 6000+ OPP prisoners are accounted for. The NYTimes today reports that Sheriff Gusman claims the prisoners have all been moved outside the city. As of this morning, however, it seems the OPP computer system was still down, so it is hard to fathom how the Sheriff could credibly make such a claim. We have heard disturbing accounts of the evacuation of OPP. If you have any first or second person accounts, please send/forward here to my email lkung@schr.org and/or xochit@mediajumpstart.org.

It seems Gretna in Jefferson Parish was evacuated as well, but we have no information on when or how it was evacuated. We found one individual at Angola, so if your person was at Gretna, you should probably call Angola or Hunts (see above).

We also know now that at least some of the people who were arrested during the general evacuation are now being held at Gretna (504) 374-7700 in Jefferson Parish. The media reports earlier in the week reported people arrested were being held in the Greyhound station. We don’t know whether this is still the case, and haven’t been able to get a phone number for families to call.

Youth in detention

All youths held in Bridge City Center for Youth (BCCY) are accounted for and are now held at Jetson Correctional Center. Call Jetson at (225) 778-9000 and ask for John Anderson, Michael Gaines, Ricky Wright, or Linda London. Family members should demand that their child be brought to the phone immediately and be allowed to talk to their family.

Youths held at the Youth Study Center, Plaquemine Detention Center, St. Bernard Center, Terrebonne Detention Center, and Riverde Detention Center have been routed to placements in other parts of the state. Family members should call Perla at (225) 287-7988 or (225) 328-3607 (cell) or Stacey at (225) 287-7955 to find out where their child is located. Ask Perla for a phone number, call, and demand that they be permitted to speak to their child immediately on the phone.

FFLIC has not confirmed that all youths have been accounted for.

We do not yet know where people age 16 or under who were arrested during the general evacuation are being held.

Please help

Families scattered around 9 states are desperately trying to find out where their kids and other family members are being locked up, where everyone is, what’s going on. If you have any additional info, please email to me or Xochitl.

We also need help getting out the information we do have to folks who need the info. If your city has a shelter, small or large, you can help by going in to post an informational flyer that at least gives people phone numbers to call. If you are able to do so, please email me for a copy of the most updated flyer.

Lisa Kung

Southern Center for Human Rights
83 Poplar Street
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 688-1202 ext. 225
(404) 688-9440 (fax)
(213) 595-5127 (cell)

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