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Nearly 27% of inmates in Louisiana custody were held past release dates: DOJ

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(WASHINGTON) — Nearly 27% of all inmates held in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections were held past their release dates over a four-month period, according to a Justice Department report.

The Justice Department said in a report that between January and April 2022, 26.8% of the people, or 1,108 people, released from LDOC’s custody were held past their release dates. Twenty-four percent of the people were held for over 90 days past their release dates, and the median number of days over detained was 29, the report added. There were nearly 4,200 people in custody overall.

“LDOC is deliberately indifferent to the systemic over detention of people in its custody,” the Justice Department said.

The agency’s over detention violates the 14th amendment which guarantees people that are incarcerated in jail and prison not to be detained beyond their release dates, the Justice Department said.

“Our investigation uncovered evidence of systemic violations by the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections that have resulted in the routine confinement of people far beyond the dates when they are legally entitled to be released. We are committed to taking action that will ensure that the civil rights of people held in Louisiana’s jails and prisons are protected. We stand ready to work with state officials to institute long overdue reforms,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, in a press release on Wednesday.

This is costly, the Justice Department said.

“In just this four-month period, LDOC had to pay parish jails an estimated $850,000, at a minimum, in fees for the days those individuals were incarcerated beyond their lawful sentences. At that rate, this unconstitutional practice costs Louisiana over $2.5 million a year,” a release from the Justice Department says.

The DOJ said that LDOC has been on notice of the problem for 10 years but has done nothing to fix it.

LDOC has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

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