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Southern Poverty Law Center;
If Louisiana were a country, it would have the second-highest incarceration rate in the world, behind only Oklahoma. In 2017, the state Legislature enacted long-overdue sentencing reforms to reduce the number of people in prison. Though laudable and necessary, the 2017 legislation is expected to reduce Louisiana's prison population by at most 10percent. It is therefore only the first of many reforms that are needed to shrink Louisiana's bloated prisons.Sentencing occurs at the end of the criminal justice process, after the accused individual has been apprehended and adjudicated. Policing occurs at the beginning of the process. An officer's decision of whom to stop, cite, and arrestis the gateway to the rest of the system.Yet Louisianans know shockingly little about police activities in the state – even when compared to other parts of the criminal justice system. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, for example, publishes quarterly updates on all prisoners placed under its jurisdiction, including their sex, race, convictions, and information about their physical and mental health.Without better data, Louisiana will not be able to evaluate whether or how its law enforcement officers contribute to the state's astronomical incarceration rate and what reforms should be prioritized. Police will not be able to improve their performance or refute criticisms that their practices unfairly target certain groups or that misconduct persists across an entire department. And communities will remain in the dark about how public servants who are licensed to use force carry out their duties.
Southern Poverty Law Center;
While school-based law enforcement duties vary across school districts, the primary responsibility of officers on campuses is law enforcement. SROs (School Resource Officers), however, have also been increasingly called upon to respond to school disciplinary incidents, resulting in harsher consequences for minor misbehaviors by students.Schools are required to collect and report data on key education and civil rights issues – including school policing data such as the number of students referred to law enforcement, the number of students arrested at school-related activities, and the number of sworn law enforcement officers (including SROs) in their district – to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which is charged with enforcing certain federal anti-discrimination laws in schools.What's more, school districts and state departments of education are required to publish data on school policing under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Though Louisiana has school data collection laws, these laws have not caught up to federal requirements for the collection and publication of certain student data, including school-based arrests and referrals to law enforcement and the presence of SROs in Louisiana's schools.Through research and public records requests, the SPLC found that local school districts are not accurately and consistently collecting data on their school policing programs, and the data that was collected and reported had discrepancies compared to data reported to the OCR and data collected by law enforcement agencies. This suggests that educators, families, and policymakers lack accurate, basic information about school policing in the state. The Louisiana Legislature should require schools, school districts, and the Louisiana Department of Education to accurately collect and publicly report data on school-based arrests and referrals to law enforcement as already required by federal law.
Violence Policy Center;
This study examines the problem of black homicide victimization at the state level by analyzing unpublished Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR) data for black homicide victimization submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The information used for this report is for the year 2017. This is the first analysis of the 2017 data on black homicide victims to offer breakdowns of cases in the 10 states with the highest black homicide victimization rates and the first to rank the states by the rate of black homicide victims.It is important to note that the SHR data used in this report comes from law enforcement reporting at the local level. While there are coding guidelines followed by the law enforcement agencies, the amount of information submitted to the SHR system, and the interpretation that results in the information submitted (for example, gang involvement) will vary from agency to agency. This study is limited by the quantity and degree of detail in the information submitted.
Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University New Orleans;
Despite being a foodie destination, Louisiana suffers from a food gap, which is the failure of the market economy to serve the basic human needs of those who are the most impoverished.Louisiana has the second highest rate of food insecurity in the nation and it is rising faster than in the rest of the country.Forty-six of the sixty-four parishes in Louisiana have food insecurity rates of 15 percent or higher, and some as high as 34.4 percent.1 in 4 Louisiana families rely on SNAP to meet their monthly food needs, twothirds of whom are children. Poverty rates were consistent and consistently high in Louisiana between 2013 and 2017, despite the fact that WIC usage declined significantly during this time period, and SNAP usage declined until 2016, when there was a 42 percent increase, possibly due to its link to state Medicaid expansion implemented in 2016.Louisiana is replete with food deserts, which are defined by the USDA as places with a dearth of healthy and affordable food options, such as fullservice grocery stores and/or farmers markets within a convenient travel distance (one mile for urban areas and ten miles in rural areas).
Southern Poverty Law Center;
Racial profiling – the unconstitutional practice of law enforcement targeting individuals due to the color of their skin – remains an egregious and common form of discrimination and continues to taint the legitimacy of policing in theUnited States. It is both pervasive and hard to prove. Stopping an individual merely for "driving while black" violates the U.S. and Louisiana constitutions, but few cases have been brought in state or federal courts in Louisiana to challenge racially discriminatory policing. Racial profiling is also problematic from a public safety perspective because it undercuts effective police work by damaging trust in law enforcement.While the much-needed sentencing reforms Louisiana began implementing in 2017 are projected to reduce the state's prison population by 10% over the next 10 years, resulting in savings of $262 million,22 none of the reforms focus onthe disproportionate policing of Louisianans of color. Eliminating racial profiling must be a priority if Louisiana wants to shed its status as one of the world's most prolific incarcerators. To address these harms, Louisiana law enforcement agencies must adopt and enforce effective policies against racial profiling and take other steps to ensure constitutional policing. For their parts, the Legislature and the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Criminal Justice should institute a host of reforms to curb this unconstitutional and counterproductive practice.
W.K. Kellogg Foundation;
The purpose of this report is to highlight the business case for racial equity -- stressing the importance of racial equity as both an imperative for social justice and a strategy for New Orleans' and Louisiana's economic development and growth. As advancing racial equity requires the work of many stakeholders, we hope that the information in this report will be meaningful, useful and actionable for leaders, change agents and influencers within New Orleans' and Louisiana's businesses, communities, and institutions.
National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy;
In light of the national uprising sparked by the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (and building on other recent tragic movement moments going back to the 2014 murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri), NCRP is analyzing grantmaking by community foundations across the country to find out exactly how much they are – or are not – investing in Black communities.We started by looking at the latest available grantmaking data (2016-2018) of 25 community foundations (CFs) – from Los Angeles to New Orleans to New York City to St. Paul. These foundations represent a cross section of some of the country's largest community foundations as well as foundations in communities where NCRP has Black-led nonprofit allies.
The Date Center;
As New Orleans completes her 300th year, the tricentennial is an important moment to reflect on the city's history and achievements. But in addition to celebrating their storied past, New Orleanians are eager to learn from it. Since 2005, when Katrina struck and the levees failed, New Orleanians have worked hard to rebuild their city better than before, preserving that which they treasure, while reforming and strengthening their institutions, and increasing opportunities for prosperity. The tricentennial represents an auspicious occasion for both celebration and reflection.
Louisiana Budget Project;
Louisiana's tax system is broken. It doesn't bring in enough revenue to pay for the things that allow communities to thrive- strong schools, good hospitals and public safety. It taxes people with low incomes at higher levels than the rich. It doesn't keep up with economic growth. And it's riddled with special-interest exemptions and tax breaks.It's time to trade the never-ending cycle of budget shortfalls for long-term stability that allows for new investments in Louisiana's communities. It can only happen with fundamental tax reform that meets some basic principles: Fairness, Adequacy, Competitiveness, Timeliness and Sustainability.
New Orleans Workers' Center for Racial Justice;
A report by STAND, a grassroots project of NOWCRJ, that exposes the impact of Lousiana's unjust and inequitable evacuation policy during the Hurricane Gustav on the state's poorest evacuees, based on hundreds of interviews with evacuees.This report exposes Louisiana's differential treatment sheltering policy which directs that in disasters, the state shall segregate evacuees relying on city/ state transportation in state-run warehouse shelters separate from evacuees using their own cars. Pursuant to this policy, the state advisory system directs self-transporting evacuees to separate parish, Red Cross, and church shelters with better conditions. Those who evacuate by bus are primarily the residents who do not have the economic means (or the cars) to self-evacuate, including homeless residents, public housing residents, low-wage workers, low-income renters, and their families -- almost all African American.This report's findings are based on assessments of the state-run warehouse shelters and extensive interviews of hundreds of affected residents. The findings expose startling inequity. In the Gustav evacuation, the state's differential treatment policy subjected the most vulnerable state residents to extremely inhumane shelter conditions. In each of the four state-run warehouse shelters, over a thousand evacuees were housed in a single large one-room space. Women, infants, children, the elderly, the sick, and the disabled were all using the same space, without privacy, and sharing the same bathrooms -- outdoor portable toilets. They had no access to running water inside the facilities. The only showers -- until close to the end of the evacuations -- were the portable toilets outside, in which mothers were washing themselves and their babies with bottled water. Residents had limited access to medical care, and no access to counselors or to news from the state about the hurricane and its aftermath.
American Human Development Project;
Louisiana ranks 49th among U.S. states and Washington, D.C. on the American Human Development Index, with wide disparities within the state. This new study examines disparities by parish, race, and gender in Louisiana, and calls for action to address the acute human vulnerability that persists today, four years after Hurricane Katrina. The report is commissioned by Oxfam America and the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation, with funding from Oxfam America and the Foundation for the Mid South. What's new in this report? A human development index for Louisiana, using post-Katrina data, with rankings by parish groups, ethnicity and gender. The index reveals that while some groups within the state enjoy levels of well-being that surpass those of first-ranked Connecticut, others experience health, education, and income levels of the rest of the country thirty, forty, even fifty years ago; First-ever 2007 life expectancy calculations for all Louisiana parishes and for whites and African Americans in each parish; Reliable international comparisons of groups within Louisiana to well-being measures in other countries. African American life span in Louisiana today (72.2 years) is shorter than that in Colombia, Vietnam and Venezuela. Evidence from disaster recovery around the world suggests that the rebuilding phase often results in a further concentration of power and resources in the hands of elites. Through this research, we have calculated that federal hurricane recovery dollars directed to Louisiana thus far amount to nearly $15,000 for each and every man, woman, and child in the state. Ensuring that recovery benefits everyone requires that Louisiana state and local officials set concrete targets and provide easily understood reports to the general public on the use of recovery dollars. Equally critical is that the people of Louisiana and Mississippi raise their voices to demand accountability.