Racism, The Systemic Part: Blacks in Louisiana Account for 70% of COVID-19 Death

Duane Townsend

Democracy Now! - April 8, 2020

Louisiana faces one of the worst outbreaks of the coronavirus in the United States. New data shows black people account for 70% of all the state's coronavirus deaths, though they comprise just 32% of the state's population. Louisiana also has the highest incarceration rate in the country, and more than 65% of the people in its jails and prisons are black. At least 28 people are infected, and 22 corrections staff have tested positive. State corrections officials are sending infected prisoners to the Louisiana State Penitentiary — known as Angola, the largest maximum-security prison in the United States — where they are being held in Camp J, a notorious part of the prison that was shut down in 2018 because of inhumane treatment. The ACLU of Louisiana sued to stop the statewide transfer of COVID-19 patients to Angola prison, but a judge denied the request last Thursday. We speak with Alanah Odoms Hebert, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, and Albert Woodfox, who served the longest time in solitary confinement of any prisoner in the United States — 44 years in Angola prison. His memoir is "Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement, My Story of Transformation and Hope."

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