East Baton Rouge Parish Prison | A Failure In Corrections

There is a problem in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.  One acknowledged by everyone in charge of the facility. 

Yet, nothing is being done to fix the problem!  

I am referring to the FACT that the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison has the HIGHEST DEATH RATES IN THE UNITED STATES! 

And, It doesn’t have to be this way.

But, the political machine that runs the institute simply refuses to fix the problem!

East Baton Rouge Parish Prison |  A Failure In Corrections

To illustrate how our criminal justice system in East Baton Rouge doesn’t work at ALL is Lamar Johnson.

Lamar was a 27-year-old father who was on his way to pick up his grandmother from a dialysis treatment when he was stopped by Baker Police for having tinted windows on May 26, 2015.

Baker Police Sgt. Ryan Lowe said he appreciated Lamar for his honesty and willingness to cooperate and not cause problems during his arrest.

I am sure he was shocked when four days later, Johnson was discovered hanging from the bars of his solitary confinement cell at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.  Suspended in a “semi-standing posture” with his blanket knotted around his neck, he was rushed to the health care facility nearby. 

And, according to a guard’s report, He died at a hospital on June 10.

What happened?

Lamar Johnson

Lamar Johnson fell victim to THE inadequate management of the prison. 

After suffering a mental breakdown in jail due to the “Deplorable” conditions referred to by Warden Grimes, he was placed in a solitary confinement cell.  

 

  • He was denied the simple basic mental health care he needed.
  • They refused him his medication.
  • They prevented contact with his family by denying him phone and visiting privileges.

They simply closed the door, hid him away from the world and hoped the problem would just go away!

But, he suffered in the 6 x 9 cell all alone cut off from the world till he eventually decided death was his only recourse to escape the horrors of the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison and their tortured treatments.

Misuse of Administrative Segregation

Are you aware of what Administrative Segregation is? 

You may be thinking, “Administrative Segregation is “suppose” to be used for disciplinary violators inside the jail,” right?

Not in East Baton Rouge!

According to the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison’s handbook, Inmates assigned to disciplinary detention are not allowed anything in their cell other than their prison uniform, bedding, and minimal personal hygiene items. 

  • They are given no hall time
  • No telephone privilege to contact their loved ones. 
  • They are not given books to read.
  • They even exclude visiting for family members. 

In other words, you are cut off from the outside world and left to die which is exactly what happened!

Now, can someone tell me please why an inmate housed in EBR Parish Prison is refused telephone privileges?

Never mind, I already know…

It is their way to hide what is going on behind the walls there!

Linda Franks, Lamar’s mother, believes that after recognizing Lamar’s mental breakdown and the prison administrations fault in causing it, the prison in an attempt to conceal their responsibility from his family and friends, placed him in a solitary confinement cell for 24 hours a day!

Listen to the words of Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Grimes, Warden of the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison as He describes the conditions in his own jail!

“…[It’s] DEPLORABLE and it is going down every day….” Lt. Colonel Dennis Grimes, Warden of East Baton Rouge Parish Prison

Could it really be as bad as Colonel Dennis Grimes describes?

Apparently so…

Dr. Rani Whitfield, a member of Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group,  tried to warn the Louisiana Legislators in 2015, “There are many lawsuits coming down the pike,” if things were not dealt with!

He laid the blame squarely at the feet of those who are in charge of the prison! 

Because of negligence people were dying in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison!

Who’s In Charge of the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison?

You would belive, the Warden is the controlling authority figure in a prison, right?

When, the fact is it is the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office who truly at the helm. 

Yet both the Sheriff of East Baton Rouge, nor the Warden of the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison refuse to take responsibility for the activities going on in THEIR prison. 

The video you will see in a moment will show you, they don’t even try to fix the problemWhy?

Because they use the “deplorable” conditions, the assaults, and the deaths to approach the Louisiana Legislator every year to beg for more money!

Simply put, they don’t really want the problem solved because problems help bring in the cash!

“They don’t want the problem solved because problems bring in the cash!”  Bubbie Gunter, Author

prison health care

 

One example of the sad state inside the prison is the health care staff they employ at East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.

It has been reported they:

    • MISS APPOINTMENTS with their “patients”.
  • Don’t keep accurate records.
  • Miss DOZENS of medication doses needed for the sick inmates.
  • WITHHOLD MEDICATION from those who DESPERATELY needs them. 
  • And, they have been known to even DELETE RECORDS to COVER UP their failure to do their job!

Yet, nothing is done to these ineffective employees!

Now, ask yourself this….  

Does it take more money to ensure that those employed under you do their job?

Absolutely not!

But, while those in charge sit in expensive chairs and drink from crystal glasses, they continue to refuse to take responsibility the actions of their employees.  All the while our families languish and die in their jail!

This video shows how the Sheriff and the Warden use the situation to plea for more money from Louisiana instead of simply fixing the problem!

As you saw, they admit, its getting worse.

Not because the situation is deteriorating. But, because they refuse to do anything about it.

The problem inside East Baton Rouge Parish Prison can be fixed in ONE DAY!

Instead, they refuse to take action

They continue to hold Louisiana Legislator’s and our citizens hostage to the ongoing dilemma because they want a new prison and more money. 

And, the result is….

A Breakdown In Order

East Baton Rouge Parish Prison

It appears Dr. Whitfield was right! 

A 46-page decision issued by U.S. District Judge John deGravelles proves it. 

The suit shows how another man, Jonathan Fano, suffered from mental illness and was arrested for misdemeanors violations.

After suffering from a psychotic breakdown, Jonathan found himself in the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison.  He was housed in the infamous death trap in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison known as solitary confinement too.

Just like Lamar, Jonathan family pleaded for help from Administration to no avail.  He was denied any contact with them.  And, their pleas fell on callus deaf ears.

They were forced to sit helpless while he suffered the torture from inside the East Baton Rouge Prison and its staff!

The suit claims he did not receive proper medical or mental health treatment, despite his (or his families) repeated pleas for help.

And, Judge John deGravelles allowed the civil suit brought by the mother of the 27-year-old mentally ill man, to move forward.

“(Now) we can really uncover information that the parish and sheriff’s department don’t want us to have.”  Will Claiborne, an attorney representing Zavala in the lawsuit. 

Jonathan’s sister repeatedly contacted prison authority’s because she feared for her brothers life and safety because he wasn’t receiving the medical treatment necessary.

The prisons response…

They avoided the situation by simply hanging up on her!

And, on February 2, 2017 the East Baton Rouge Prison stole another life!

His suicide note to his family simply stated,

“I don’t know if this will get to you in time…I tried.  I really did…”  Last words of Jonathan Fano before he fell victim to the torturous conditions of East Baton Rouge Parish Prison

Louisiana Politics and the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison

“Do something,” Will Claiborne,  Attorney-at-Law, the Claiborne Firm

The saddest thing about the two tragedies mentioned is they were avoidable!

But, as always politics won over public safety!

How?

Well, listen to both the Warden of the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison and its overseer, the Sheriff of East Baton Rouge Parish, as they describe the horrors going on in their own jail.

In the suit mentioned above, Judge deGravelles wrote, “…the city/parish’s policy…contributed to systematic constitutional deprivations and ultimately resulted in Fano’s suicide!”

Notice here that the Judge didn’t simply blame the Sheriff’s Office or the Warden of the institution.  He concluded the CITY/PARISH POLICIES also contributed to the death of Jonathan Fano!

 

A Case In Point

Soon after my complaints, the 78-year-old survivor of two heart attacks lost contact with his son.  Because of everything going on inside the walls of the East Baton Rouge Prison,  he was just worried about his sons safety and wanted to hear from him.

He had instructed his son to contact him DAILY.  And, he just wanted to know his son was safe.  

But, like so many others, his son too simply vanished.

When he had not heard from his son for over two weeks, I contacted the Prison again for him.

What I soon learned would turn the stomach of a civilized person.

Another Example of Deliberate Indifference

After being given names of sexual predators raping other inmates. 

The administration of East Baton Rouge Parish Prison did nothing.

They were given names.

They were given bed numbers of men who held one person down while another raped him. 

Yet, all they were concerned with was “who told you this”!

I soon discovered, the sexual predators who stalk the tiers were still allowed to roam the jail free and still do!

And, we soon found out his son, NOT THE VIOLATORS, was placed in Administration Lock down!

Not for disciplinary reasons. 

But, for having the nerve to stand up and let the outside world know what was going on!

Louisiana Prison Reform Desperately Needed!

I then attempted to reach out to The East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office, which runs the prison in East Baton Rouge.  I told them of the rapes and sexual assaults we were aware of going on RIGHT THEN in their prison.

Yet, like Jonathan’s sister, they hung up on me too.

Let’s set the record straight.

In order to reform the prison system in Louisiana, especially the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, they don’t need more money!

Those in charge need to take responsibility for their employees and make them do their jobs!

Taking a Deeper Look 

At this time Louisiana is facing a crisis of epic proportion.

East Baton Rouge Parish Prison is ranked #1 in the nation for prison violence and death!

People who are arrested and placed in their jail are being beaten, raped, molested and sometimes brutally murdered.

According to Jennifer Harding, President of The Progressive Social Network of Baton Rouge

“…[At least] Twenty-five people have died, and all we have are words. Are you embarrassed? Because I’m ashamed…!” 

With no other recourse left, I was forced to contact the office of Mayor Sharon Weston Broom and plead for help for a 78-year-old retired gentleman whose son found himself trapped inside the House of Horrors.

The result?  I was told it was “outside of her offices jurisdiction!”

Now this became confusing to me.

How could the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison be outside of the Mayor of Baton Rouge’s power?

Simply put, it isn’t! 

Her office’s response was just like everyone else involved.

“It’s not MY responsibility!”

Mayor Broom’s office openly decided to refuse to address a problem of an elderly  voting member of our society.  When asked to look into the horror going on inside of a prison within her jurisdiction! 

They refused simply because they just didn’t care.

Conclusion

The Sheriff…The Warden…The Mayor’s Office…need to remember,

People arrested are SUPPOSE to be innocent till proven guilty. 

But, many die before they even have their day in court!

THESE are the people responsible for the deplorable conditions and why the jail is over run with violence of epic proportion.

The video I shared earlier shows both Sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux, III  and the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison’s Warden, Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Grimes detailing the horrors THEY KNOW await you or your loved ones and anyone else that walk through their doors.

They sit in chairs that cost tax payers of Louisiana $100’s of dollars and are comfortable! 

All the while, our family members, are being assaulted, raped and murdered IN THEIR JAIL!

“We are not adequate in what we are doing…and it’s only a matter of time before it is shut down!”  Sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux III

Sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux, III admits He is inadequate in his job.

The Warden confesses of the “deplorable” conditions.

The Mayor of East Baton Rouge refuses to help. 

Instead of making one phone call and setting up protective measures to protect those arrested and placed in their care, they makes excuses.

The Administration overseeing the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison needs to quit begging for more money so they can be even more comfortable while at work and focus on their jobs which is to protect those housed in their jails.

They need to be remember. 

Simply because someone finds themselves in their jail doesn’t mean they are guilty of a crime.

Or, the Attorney General of Louisiana needs to investigate. 

And, they need to be removed from office!


 

Further Reading

Report: East Baton Parish jail a ‘ticking time bomb,’ ill-equipped to treat …

Report: Most Recent Deaths At East Baton Rouge Jail Could Have Been Avoided

The Horrific Results of Social Media Cyber Bullying


Do you know someone who has been to the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison?  What is your story?

Please comment below and let us know!

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