LRN PM Newscall March 30th

Three death row inmates at Angola have filed a lawsuit after being held in solitary confinement for decades. I’m Jeff Palermo…

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According to the 2017 Louisiana Survey, optimism in the future of the state is on the rise. Emelie Gunn has more…

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A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of three death row inmates who have spent decades in solitary confinement at Angola. All of Louisiana’s death row inmates are housed in solitary, where they spend 23 hours a day in a windowless cell without air conditioning. Attorney Betsy Ginsberg says this amounts to cruel and unusual punishment.

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Ginsberg notes the inmates are in solitary by virtue of their sentence alone, not disciplinary problems. Plaintiffs Marcus Hamilton, Winthrop Eaton, and Michael Perry have all spent more than 25 years in solitary confinement. She says living in isolation for this long takes a serious toll on the inmates’ physical and mental health.

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Ginsberg says the United Nations has said that anything more than 15 days in solitary constitutes a form of torture.  She understands that offenders lose certain rights when they commit violent crimes, but there has to be a limit as to what the system can do to inmates.

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The Department of Corrections has not issued a comment on the suit.


For the first time since 2012, more people in Louisiana are optimistic about the future of the state, according to the 2017 Louisiana Survey. Director of the LSU Public Policy Research Lab Michael Henderson says 46-percent of residents believe the state is headed in the right direction. Henderson credits this to the evolving political landscape.

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Henderson says despite a better sense of optimism in the state, Louisiana residents still have a lot of concerns and the number one concern is the state’s budget problems.

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But 40-percent of the respondents say they are confident state government can effectively address the state’s important problems. That’s a six percent increase from the year before. Henderson says usually residents are more pessimistic about the ability of our elected officials.

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Legislation has been filed that would require TOPS recipients who leave Louisiana after graduating to pay 50-percent of their scholarship back to the state over time. Alexandria Senator Jay Luneau says the goal of his bill is to keep the best and brightest in the Bayou State.

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Luneau says this would be much like paying back an interest free student loan. He says students would be required to follow through with a contractual agreement, ensuring they will pay back the money if they leave the state.

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The bill does include circumstances where if a recipient does leave the state for special reasons, they will not be required to pay the 50-percent back, like if they enter into the military. Luneau hopes this encourages students to stay and work in Louisiana but also saves the state money if they decide to move to another state.

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Louisiana has the worst financial literacy in the nation, according to the personal finance website WalletHub. Analyst Jill Gonzales says the median credit score in the state is 654, which is verging on bad credit. She says only 28 percent of residents are setting aside money for their children’s education, and less half have a rainy day fund.

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Gonzales says Louisiana has the highest unbanked rate in the country, meaning 15 percent of residents do not have a bank account at all. She says that means people aren’t earning interest on any cash they may be putting back, and they’re borrowing from nonbank lenders like payday loans. She adds Louisianans are not being responsible with credit cards either.

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Gonzales says this can stretch your interest out for years to come. The report finds only 2 percent of households attended a financial literacy class or counseling session in the past year. She says Louisiana residents also have a bad habit of spending more money than they make.

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