In the state of Louisiana, 786 inmates—none of whom were ever sentenced to death—died behind bars between 2015-2019 while serving out their prison sentences. Since Black people are already incarcerated at disproportionate rates, these deaths have been disproportionately among Black inmates. This information has not been publicly available until now, because no single authority in Louisiana is required to collect such data. When law professor Andrea Armstrong and her students took it upon themselves to conduct this research, they were shocked by what they found. In this episode of Rattling the Bars, TRNN Executive Producer Eddie Conway speaks with Armstrong about investigating the quiet horror happening inside Louisiana prisons and what can be done to stop it. Professor Armstrong joined the Loyola University New Orleans,College of Law faculty in 2010 and founded IncarcerationTransparency.org, a database that provides facility-level deaths behind bars data and analysis for Louisiana and memorializes the lives lost. She is a leading national expert on prison and jail conditions and is certified by the US Department of Justice as a Prison Rape Elimination Act auditor.
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