Lawsuit Claims Inmates Were Held 5 Months Past Release Date In Lake Providence Detention Center

Aug 3, 2017

A lawsuit has been filed by the MacArthur Justice Center, a non-profit civil rights legal organization,  on behalf of two Orleans Parish Inmates who were being housed at a prison in Lake Providence, Louisiana.

The lawsuit states that Jessie Crittindon and Leon Burse were held in custody for five months after they should have been released. The men were held the East Carroll Parish Riverbend Detention Center and were eligible for release in August 2016. Crittindon and Burse were released in January 2017.

 “It is the responsibility of these public officials to make sure that they have legal authority to hold persons in custody,” said Emily Washington, an attorney with non profit MacArthur Justice Center. “These defendants knew that Mr. Crittindon and Mr. Burse were entitled to release. Not only did they fail to set them free, but they blatantly ignored months of outreach by these men and their families. They were repeatedly informed that people were being over detained and they took no action.”

The suit names officials with the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office (OPSO), the East Carroll Parish Sheriff’s Office (ECPSO), and the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (DPS&C). 

East Carroll Parish Sheriff Wydette Williams says he had just received the lawsuit and the allegations were being looked at by lawyers from the Louisiana Sheriffs' Association.   Williams says, "By no means would we hold an inmate past their release date. We want to see all of our inmates return as soon as possible to leading productive lives."  

The complaint can be found here:  http://neworleans.macarthurjusticecenter.org/uploads/rsmjc-neworleans/documents/crittindon_burse_complaint.pdf