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U.S. Dept. of Justice opens investigation into state's prisoner release practices

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Posted at 6:15 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 19:15:28-05

LAFAYETTE, La. — The United States Department of Justice announced Thursday that it has opened a statewide civil investigation into Louisiana's prisoner release practices.

According to a statement from the DOJ, the investigation will examine the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections’ policies and practices for ensuring the timely release of state prisoners in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections who are incarcerated in state and local correctional facilities.

The investigation also includes practices related to prisoners who are eligible for immediate release.

The DOJ says it has not reached any conclusions regarding the allegations in this matter, and that the investigation will be conducted under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA).

Under CRIPA, the Department has the authority to investigate violations of prisoners’ constitutional rights that result from a “pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of such rights,” the statement says.

The DOJ says it has conducted CRIPA investigations of many correctional systems, and where violations have been found, the resulting settlement agreements have led to important reforms.

The department says the Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section is conducting this investigation jointly with the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of Louisiana, which is located in Lafayette.

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