Trending Topics

Louisiana Prison’s Attempt at a ‘Feel Good’ Story Only Highlights Its Inhumanity

What was intended to be a heartwarming story about New Orleans jail inmates visiting with their families has sparked outrage among critics who blasted the Orleans Parish Prison for what they called a clear lack of humanity.

A video shared by The Times-Picayune shows officers at the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office rewarding exemplary inmates with a surprise: a few minutes in person with their families. According to the newspaper, it’s rare for high-security inmates at the jail to see their loved ones while in custody.

The video made that quite clear.

“Dada!” one girl shouts as she jumps into her father’s arms for a tight embrace.

Another woman is seen wiping away tears.

“Some of them had trouble seeing their families, making calls to their families,” said Lt. Jerry Martin, who works at the jail. “We’ve even had a couple of gentlemen that’s never had contact with their families or their children before. So I thought it would be a great idea to surprise the families and bring ’em in so they can have a couple of minutes with their families.”

The reunion event was replete with doughnuts and backpacks filled with school supplies for the inmates’ children.

“They’ll be rewarded for doing the right thing,” Martin added. “And also it builds community relations with the families to show them that we do take care of their loved ones while they are incarcerated.”

Critics said the event proved the exact opposite, however. Online, many wondered why so many inmates were denied regular visits with their families and why they were allowed only a few minutes to spend time with them.

“This is just indicative of the inhumane treatment that prisoners are subjected to in our nation’s prisons,” one woman wrote. “The audacity to act as if this was a grand gesture instead of a right.”

“This is undeserved PR for the Sheriff’s office,” wrote another. “The story just highlights the inhumane practice of denying inmates and families in-person visits. Don’t praise an inhumane institution for being slightly less so.”

One man noted that the punishment of incarceration is to deprive inmates of their freedom “but not their humanity.”

“Only in New Orleans do they think treating people like humans deserves praise,” another critic chimed in.

Watch more in the video below.

Back to top