Jordan Flaherty: If you’re in the USA you have probably seen the reporting in the New York Times, LA Times, and elsewhere, on the continuing revelations about prisoner abuse and torture in the aftermath of Katrina.
Here are a couple quotes from yesterday's NYTimes article, which, according to a friend who has been working tirelessly on this issue, understates the case:
"(Inmate's lawyers) estimate that as many as 2,000 people arrested for minor crimes just before the hurricane are still in prison five weeks later. They said that under normal circumstances, such low-level offenders would have seen a judge and been released within days. "
"Lawyers said that interviews with the 450 prisoners in Jena (a rural
louisiana prison) produced complaints that guards had been beating them,
stripping them naked and hitting them with belts, shaving their heads,
threatening them with dogs, shocking them with stun guns and assaulting them
after they attempted to report the abuse.
The inmates said prison guards from Louisiana, as well as New York City
corrections officers sent to the area after the hurricane, had participated in
“I'm afraid for my safety,” read one handwritten note that lawyers say was smuggled to them last week by a Jena prisoner. “It's going to be worse when y'all leave. I was beaten 9-28-05.'”