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OUTRAGEOUS CONDITIONS IN LOUISIANA PRISONS

Inhuman conditions day in and day out in Avoyelles Parish

Woman describes her daily torment

I want to tell you a little bit about the horrid living conditions, the living hell, here at ABCC (Avoyelles Bordelonville Correctional Center); how this cruel & inhuman treatment is hard on the mind as well as the body. I do not hesitate to tell jailers that I would not even treat my dog this way.

There are 32 to 36 women/dorm, bunks are double. Each person has a metal trunk 14x15x24". There is no water in the dorms and we have a toilet list. We are timed at 2 minutes in the toilet, screamed at and pulled out if we stay longer! In the allotted two minutes we must pee, poop, wash hands, face, dishes, clothes, brush teeth and fill a water bottle at the only cold water fountain in the building. Until 6/23 we also had to change our clothes in toilet during this two minutes. And all of this after 2 to 3 hours and sometimes a five hour wait!

This is sheer insanity and physically impossible. We are constantly yelled at and humiliated for not complying. Also, there are only 3 toilets and one sink for 70 women, the plumbing leaks, water runs on the floor and when it rains the toilets do not flush, but back up & run over. I have seen no policy on the 2 minute toilet trip - I'm sure the Board of Health would have fun with that & all of this information.

A memo says we get 10 minutes in the shower room, but I timed it at 2 to 5 minutes to shower, shampoo, & shave. A floor-ceiling crack admits daylight.

We eat in Dining Room that is separated by about 20 feet from the main building. When it rains (and pours) we have no coats, boots, plastic bags to use. I have walked through 4-inch deep water to get there. Then we are not allowed to hang our clothes to dry. A verbal policy gives us 15 minutes to eat, but I have timed it at 7 minutes. Food trays are routinely dirty, spoons are huge, like small shovels.

A terrible problem now is the heat. When the compressor overheats (nearly every day) the A/C dies -- the heats comes on. Many deputies will not allow us to open windows or doors, the very few fans are used by deputies (rarely for prisoners). I'm sure the temperature reaches 120-150 degrees F from my top bunk. People on top bunks are passing out from heat stroke. One with a Doctor's order for A/C was told she is lucky to have what she has.

Worse than the heat is the constant cursing and screaming, the confusing and contradictory orders. There are almost no written policies and we must follow "the last verbal order received." Each jailer has her (his) own policy and they are all different. There are 10+ on at any given time and our orders change every few minutes; come, go, stand, sit, smile, don't smile, talk, don' t talk. Orders are generally accompanied by cursing and followed with the threat of isolation.

There are other problems with the physical facility. The stench of sewage and propane in the yard is enough to make you sick. For 200 prisoners there are 1 or 2 picnic tables and 2 benches outside. While inside I must sit on my bunk or my trunk and write in my lap. In winter snow and rain come through a broken roof and missing ceiling tiles. Broken water pipes and heaters frequently leave us with only cold water. There are no clocks to allow us to follow time schedules. Windows don't close and locks are broken.

During roll call at 0700, 1200, 1500, 2000, & 2200 hours we stand at attention and recite our names and numbers. At these times and every time we step away from our bunks (to toilet, recreation, eat, visit at another bunk, etc.) our beds must be neatly made and all belongings and property stored in trunk. Anything left on bunk will be confiscated and never returned. During shakedowns books have been stolen, mail and legal papers shredded.

Words cannot begin to describe the horrid treatment we receive here. I'm quite sure that it is as illegal as it is immoral, and I hope that you can help expose this injustice. Thank you.

Connie LaRue Schleicher
c/o ABCC Avoyelles Parish Louisiana
4464 Hwy 451
Moreaville, Louisiana
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YOU CAN HELP!!

Most of Connie's complaints have been validated by other prisoners within the system. Your assistance would be very much appreciated. One may help by calling the people in charge.

The Warden is Randy Norman (318) 997-2143.
The Sheriff is Bill Belt (318) 253-4000.
Governor Mike Foster at (800)522-2737 FAX (504) 342-7015
[Suggest to him that you are going to E-mail Dateline about prison conditions in Louisiana, because they did such a great job exposing Asset Forfeiture (Highway Robbery) in this state. The state does not want any more bad publicity]


Story written by: Connie LaRue Schleicher
Story submitted by Barbara Wilson (BabsMin@aol.com)
Story distributed by Dot Bibee (DotHB@aol.com) of SAFAN (Stop All Federal Abuses Now).


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