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ACLU: Rape of gay prisoners in Orleans Parish Prison

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The ACLU of Louisiana is asking county jail officials in New Orleans to take steps to protect gay and transgender inmates after a spike in reported rapes. But those officials are accusing the ACLU of “misrepresenting the facts.”

In a letter to the Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff, the Louisiana ACLU says they have had an “alarming number” of complaints of sexual assaults, including rapes and attempted rapes, against gay and transgender inmates.

But Sheriff Marlin Gusman says he hasn’t had any complaints this year, and had only seven complaints last year, all of which were unfounded. Gusman called the ACLU’s letter “an injustice to this community.”

But ACLU of Louisiana Executive Director Marjorie Esman says there’s a reason Gusman hasn’t seen the complaints.

Esman: “One of the problems at Orleans Parish Prison is the complaint process – the grievance process. That if they submit a grievance, it goes to kind of a tier leader who may or may not turn them in. So the fact that the sheriff hasn’t seen them doesn’t necessarily mean that prisoners aren’t trying to submit them.”

Esman is asking prison officials to reinstate the pre-Katrina policy of separating “at risk” prisoners from the general population. She says many facilities were forced to reorganize because of structural damage. The ACLU says ultimately, the best solution would be more supervision.

Esman wouldn’t say whether the ACLU might consider a legal challenge if jail officials don’t take action.

— Aaron McQuade


Written by OutQ News staff

May 1, 2009 at 2:10 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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