Protestors will also rally Thursday, April 7 at the state capital in Baton Rouge to voice their opposition for Governor Bobby Jendal's proposed plan to sell the state prison in Cottonport.
The rally on the steps will follow a committee hearing inside the capital on the prison. Former state Rep. Raymond Laborde will be testifying at the hearing. Laborde was the key person instrumental in establishing the prison in 1989. Laborde, who fought to have the prison built during his tenure, is expected to remind the legislature of the its own plan the state had for the prison in Avoyelles.
Laborde, now retired back to his Marksville courthouse square store, was once a powerhouse of Louisiana politics, handpicked by then Gov. Edwin Edwards to be commissioner of administration after serving over 20 years as the state representative of Avoyelles. His testimony today will bring back his no nonsense approach to government as he is likely to tell the committee members exactly how he feels about the unpopular plan to privatize the prison.
Supporters of the prison have been putting pressure on the legislature in a series of meetings and rallies.
The following letter is a plea to the public from Jean Davis:
We need your assistance. The issue of private prisons has been around for decades and has been debated by conservatives and liberals. However, this is not an issue of politics; it is an ethical and moral issue. Justice should not be for sale. When private corporations are allowed to run prisons they are making a profit off crime and indirectly off of the victims. Governor Jindal is attempting to privatize our state prisons as part of his budget agenda. This will not only cause hundreds of men and women to lose their jobs it will also generate millions of dollars in profit for corporations that in turn contribute millions of dollars to political campaign funds.
These contributions can influence officials to create policies that can benefit these corporations. Governor Jindal also proposes to make heavy cuts in all state jobs, so many cuts that the number of people losing their jobs will be substantial and noticeably add to the already burdened unemployment sector. People are not numbers they are living, breathing human beings with families and homes that will be adversely affected by his proposals.
Jobs, however, are not the only issue when we speak about prisons.
Private prisons have to make a profit. They make profit by reducing the number of staff, hiring inadequately trained officers, provide limited health care, reduce the number of programs that are designed to prevent prisoners from returning to prison, and negatively affect the safety and the financial stability of communities.
Although this is America and we have the freedom to own a business, build a corporation and strive to make all the money we want, there has to be a line drawn somewhere when it comes to moral issues.
Justice should not generate corporate profit. On April 7, 2011 communities will speak out against privatizing prisons at the Louisiana State Capital. Please join us on that day to voice your support.
Thank you ,