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St. Tammany Parish Jail Comes Under Fire from ACLU

Posted on Aug 11, 2010 in Local Issues

The St. Tammany Parish Jail has come under serious fire from the ACLU as a result of an assessment conducted by a prison facility consultant who was hired after a number of inmates managed to escape from the facility. [caption id="attachment_908" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Photo Courtesy of SlidellSentry.com"][/caption] The controversial issue that is receiving attention is the jail's use of what have been referred to as 'squirrel cages' to house mentally ill inmates and those who have been placed on suicide watch. The structures are reported to have dimensions of 3'x3' with 8' ceilings: the equivalent of 72 square feet. This figure is egregiously small when compared to the minimum 144 square feet recommended to house dogs of over 66 pounds. Inmates reportedly have no room in which to lie down and are forced to sleep curled into fetal positions. Additional allegations have surfaced indicating that St. Tammany Parish Jail guards force inmates placed in the 'squirrel cages' to strip and wear extremely small bright orange cut-off shorts with the words 'Hot Stuff' inscribed on them. The consultant (originally hired to assess the jail's security features) has issued statements that indicate that this behavior is completely outside of the realm of the practices of any other jails around the country. St. Tammany Parish Jail representatives have cited budgetary restrictions and a lack of state-funded resources as excuses for the treatment of their mentally ill inmates but have met with serious disagreement from experts on the subject. For an in-depth report on this issue, visit New Orleans City Business. Regardless of their mental condition or the sentences they are serving, inmates are still guaranteed certain constitutional rights to humane treatment and basic medical care while incarcerated. If you believe that you or a loved one have been treated inhumanely while incarcerated or held in a detention facility it may be advisable to consult with an attorney to discuss your rights. Call Bloom Legal at 504-599-9997.

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