Hi, all. I’m a LexBlog summer intern. I am a senior studying psychology at Tulane University in New Orleans. Hope you enjoy my first post, and more gifs to come.
Is sentencing an individual to years in prison for harmless drug use warranted? In New Orleans, the answer is, unfortunately, yes. As an intern at Orleans Public Defense, I saw injustice in action as countless men and women were denied the right to a fair trial due to the color of their skin.
Dubbed the “most incarcerated city”, New Orleans has made a habit of locking up people of color for even the most minor offenses. People of color make up a whopping 86 percent of the city’s court system despite only comprising 60 percent of the population. This discrepancy is largely due to officers’ tendency to arrest African-American individuals over other races.
African-American men and women in New Orleans are already disenfranchised and over 85 percent cannot afford lawyers. Orleans Public Defenders are tasked with too many cases to provide each individual case with the attention it deserves. And as a result, these individuals are left to the legislative wolves.
In order for much-needed change to occur in the courts, the people of Louisiana must take action, and soon.