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Ex-Louisiana Officials Fined for Racial Segregation

Two former Louisiana corrections officials must pay $4,000 in fines for segregating inmates by race, a federal judge said. In his ruling October 27th in Baton rouge, a U.S. District judge lowered the judgment from $10,000 recommended by a federal magistrate earlier in the year.

Fined were former Department of Public Safety and Corrections Secretary C. Paul Phelps and former Angola Warden Frank Blackburn. U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen Riedlinger had said Angola inmates were systematically segregated in two-man cells for the ostensible reason that mixing races would cause fights. Riedlinger wrote the recommendation after hearing a case brought by three Angola prisoners in 1985.

The policy violated the inmates' constitutional rights and broke a 1984 legal agreement in which prison officials pledged to run an integrated facility, Riedlinger ruled.

In lowering the fine, District Judge Frank Polozola noted the defendants are no longer state officials and the policy of segregation has been eliminated. In October 1990, the current Angola Warden banned segregation of prisoners by race, according to the report.

Corrections Digest

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