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Louisiana has the highest rates of incarceration of minors of any state in the country. Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate per capita of any state in the country.

It has now become the first state to sue its own death row inmates:

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections last Friday sued every inmate on death row, in an effort to block any one of them from challenging the state’s lethal injection procedures. Each of the 84 prisoners in the “death house” at Angola State Penitentiary was personally served papers in the suit, said Nick Trenticosta, who has represented numerous clients on Angola’s death row.

Trenticosta, who is also director of the non-profit Center for Equal Justice in New Orleans, knows of no other instance in which a state sued its death row inmates en masse over legal questions relating to their execution. “I’ve been hanging around death penalty cases for 25 years,” Trenticosta said in a phone interview this morning, “and I have never seen anything like this.”

via Solitary Watch.

The absurdity of this gesture is fitting for a policy that only ensures time and resources are wasted on arguing the merits for and against killing people for symbolic purposes.

Get beyond the obvious – that is that the state shouldn’t be involved in de-existing people – it seems the main conclusion to be drawn is that hundreds if not thousands of jobs rely on the self-indulged death-industry toying with the fate of death-rowers for decades.

It seems to me that victims, victims’ families and those sentenced become a secondary concern; an infrastructure of legal jousting imposes itself, acquires its own logic and fights it out because that what the cogs demand. The results are laughably tragic deadlocks and bizarre gestures such as that of suing convicted individuals who are virtually powerless anyway.

My solution would not be to limit the legal avenues of appeal following conviction, it would be to abolish the death penalty as a sentencing option.

Just as the state should not be involved in killing people, it should not be involved in the retaliatory-posturing concerning the killing of people.


Previously on Prison Photography: There is a lot of inequalities within Louisiana’s criminal [in]justice system, that I have touched upon here, here and here. There’s also chinks of light in an unforgiving system such as radio and football programs at Angola.


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