Archive for October, 2016

Ever heard someone (usually immediately after being caught doing something illegal or irresponsible) ask “Do you know who I am?”

Jamie Louviere of Galliano in Lafourche Parish has used the phrase—or more specifically, “Do you who my daddy is?”—as a get out of jail free card.


Several times.

Over the past decade, Louviere has been arrested on numerous charges, including simple-battery-resisting-arrest, disturbing the peace, possession of a controlled substance (Hydrocodone, marijuana), drunk and disorderly, theft, criminal damage to property, simple battery, simple-assault-on-a-school-teacher, battery on a police officer (on more than one occasion), domestic abuse and even one charge of aggravated sexual battery by committing sodomy on a sleeping male with salt, a beer bottle and the handle of a hair brush.

With each encounter, she quickly invoked the name of her father, Chet Louviere who, depending on the date of her daughter’s arrest, was the current or former Golden Meadow chief of police and who is currently a candidate for the Golden Meadow town council.

And with each encounter, she has managed to get off with little or no punishment.

Confusing matters even more is the fact that one of her arrests was for domestic violence against her boyfriend, a resident of Galliano in Lafourche Parish but somehow a member of the Grand Isle town council in Jefferson Parish.

Her first arrest was for possession of Hydrocodone in November 2006. She was sentenced to five years imprisonment (suspended) and three years’ supervised probation (Nov. 3, 2006 to Nov. 3, 2009). While on supervised probation, she served 28 days for violation of her probation after pleading guilty to second degree sexual battery. Again, she received a suspended sentence and was (again) placed on supervised probation from April 18, 2008, to April 18, 2011.

She was placed on unsupervised probation on June 10, 2014, and on Aug. 26, 2016, she pleaded guilty to simple assault on a school teacher.

And while the state’s jails and prisons are overflowing with prisoners guilty of nothing more than being caught with a few joints, when Jamie Louviere, after all her arrests for physical violence, was busted for possession of marijuana, she managed to get off with simple community service.

Normally, such programs are offered to first-time offenders as an opportunity to avoid jail time, not to those who habitually physically attack or threaten boyfriends, cops and school teachers. Such pre-trial intervention programs are offered to discourage future criminal activity or disorderly behavior.

To be eligible for participation in the program, a defendant must be a first-time, non-violent offender. Participants are selected following a review of pending charges by the district attorney’s staff.

It also is considered as an educational and rehabilitative program though Louviere doesn’t seem to have learned very much or to have been rehabilitated.

While awaiting a recent court appearance, her Facebook messages seemed to indicate she was more interested in a “ Jägerbomb” party than with the trial itself.


Nice to have the priorities in order. Especially so long as we know who her daddy is.

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(Editor’s note: Occasionally, I take a point of personal privilege and depart from politics to cover a story that has deeper meaning to me. The following is one of those):

Several decades ago, his father took him to see the Harlem Globetrotters at Hirsch Memorial Coliseum in Shreveport (where the phrase “Elvis has left the building” was born). As they sat in the stands, his dad turned to him and pointed to a tall, thin, elderly black man dressed in a dark suit and sitting courtside. “You should go down there and get that man’s autograph.”

The boy looked at the man and asked, “Why should I get his autograph?”

“That’s Satchel Paige, one of the greatest pitchers of all time,” his dad said.

O.K. “Buddy” Davis followed the advice of his father Howard Davis and obtained Paige’s autograph. “If it hadn’t been for my dad telling me, I never would’ve gotten that autograph,” Davis said last Saturday (Oct. 22).

Perhaps encouraged by that exposure to the Globetrotters, by the Paige autograph—or both—Davis would go on to one of the most rewarding careers as a sportswriter that a young boy sitting in the stands in Hirsch back in the 1960s could ever have imagined.

And while others in his journalism classes at Louisiana Tech would move on to large metropolitan newspapers, he chose to eschew a bigger paycheck to stay home. He would spend his entire career as Sports Editor (he would later promote himself to Executive Sports Editor) of his small hometown newspaper, the Ruston Daily Leader, the same paper that launched the careers of numerous other writers, including yours truly. Along the way he would accumulate a roomful of reporting awards that would make any big-time writer envious.

And while covering north Louisiana sports that was—and is—a hotbed of football talent, he would never stop adding to that autograph list initiated by Paige’s signature.

A partial list of autographs owned by Davis: Bobby Thompson (of the 1951 shot heard around the world off Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca), Willie Mays, Joe Adcock, Jimmy Connors, Arnold Palmer, Johnny Unitas (which was the only autograph that I had—until it was lost in last August’s floods), Bart Starr, Dizzy Dean, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson, Red Grange, former Saints kicker Morten Andersen, Jim Mora, Archie Manning, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Bobby Knight, Brett Favre, Jim Brown, Gayle Sayers, former LSU football greats Billy Cannon, Jim Taylor and Y.A. Tittle, former Grambling greats Willie Davis, Alan Ladd and Buck Buchanan, Bob Cousy, Yogi Berra, the “ol’ perfesser,” Casey Stengel, Nolan Ryan, Stan Musial, Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly, Joe Torre and Ron Guidry, to name only a few.

Once, after the New York Yankees played an exhibition game at Grambling, Davis was interviewing a Yankee player in the dressing room when Reggie Jackson came in. Davis was apparently in the space reserved for Jackson who looked at Davis and said, “Move your ass.” Despite that less than auspicious meeting, Buddy got Jackson’s autograph.

Davis has penned some wonderful stories. One of those was about a Ruston kid named Kendall Flournoy who had lost a leg to cancer but still played Little League baseball. It was a story, poignant-laden with Buddy’s personal touch, that would bring a lump to the most jaded reader’s throat. Conversely, Buddy’s personal worst, according to consensus opinion, was his coverage of the day Bert Jones was drafted by the then-Baltimore Colts. Buddy staked out the Jones household in the early morning hours and provided a minute-by-minute account of the Jones family’s activities–starting when Bert first woke up. He took a lot of ribbing from friend Gene Smith and me for that work of less than journalistic excellence.

That story, though, was the exception. Buddy was a one-man sports department, churning out more stories in a single day than most writers do in a busy week, covering everything from T-ball to Tech-ball. And just for the record, be assured every writer has a full collection of stories that should never have been written (one of my personal Hall of Shame entries, among many,  is the one in which a cousin conned me into doing a story for The Shreveport Times about her writing a number-one hit song when in fact, she never wrote it—or any other song, for that matter. Ruston radio station KRUS also got caught up in the hype, thanks to my Times story, and did a lengthy interview with her, further perpetuating the hoax).

Buddy was one of the few writers who would give Eddie Robinson and the Grambling Tigers their due. Grambling, after all, at one time had more former players in the NFL than any other university in America—including Alabama, Ohio State, USC, Oklahoma, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame or Texas. Buddy was completely color blind and he was there for every game—from Los Angeles to New York to Hawaii to Tokyo. He even covered the Munich Olympic Games but, never forsaking his roots, was still an unabashed promoter of Ruston High, Louisiana Tech, Grambling and later, Cedar Creek High School. He was there when Terry Bradshaw threw a touchdown pass in the Grantland Rice Bowl with defensive players hanging all over him. He was there when Denny Duron threw a touchdown pass to Roger Carr to clinch the national championship in the 1973 playoffs. He was there for each of Ruston High School’s state football championships in the ’80s and ’90s. He was there when Tommy Durrett hit the winning basket to win a state championship for Simsboro High School and Coach Barry Canterbury.

Yes, he was a “homer,” perhaps having learned that from his mentor, the late Maj. L.J. Fox, a fellow Daily Leader sports columnist who never saw a Ruston High School Bearcat team or a Ruston Contractor American Legion baseball team that he didn’t think would take State.

He was also slightly mischievous. Once, while talking to Buddy in the Ruston Walmart, I detected an especially offensive—and unmistakable—odor. A passing shopper also picked up on the smell from nearly 30 feet away and, looking around for the source, promptly walked right into a column that nearly knocked the poor man unconscious. I turned to Buddy and he was grinning like the proverbial Cheshire Cat—a guilty Cheshire Cat, to be sure.

Buddy never married. Or perhaps he did, choosing a desk in the back section of the Daily Leader as his bride. It was a marriage that lasted more than 40 years. To say that desk was piled high with stories and photos and stats and records and back issues of the Daily Leader would be like saying Donald Trump is a rich egoist. How he could ever find anything on that desk remains one of the great mysteries of our time.

Today, Buddy resides in the Jack Lambert room of a Ruston nursing home (that’s Room 58 for the non-student of sports trivia; Jack Lambert played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and wore jersey number 58).

You see, a couple of years back Buddy failed to show up for work. When Daily Leader Publisher Rick Holt sent someone to check on him, he was found face down on his kitchen floor, having suffered a disabling stroke some 18 hours earlier. That’s right, he lay helpless and alone, unable to summon help, for 18 hours. And still he somehow survived.

And while he is unable to walk today, the stroke has had the effect of merely slowing him down but not stopping him. His mind is still razor-sharp (don’t ever try to beat him at sports trivia) and he still gets out from time to time to cover an occasional sporting event from his motorized chair. He accepted an Outstanding Alumnus award from Louisiana Tech from that chair during halftime of a Tech football game.

During his confinement in his Room 58 bed (a room adorned with signed sports posters and photos), he has received visitors representative of a veritable sports hall of fame. They include Terry Bradshaw, Bert Jones, former Tech and New Orleans Saints great Willie Roaf, former Grambling and Atlanta Braves baseball star Ralph Garr, former outstanding Ruston High, Tech, and Braves pitcher George Stone, former Tech and Canadian Football League great Tommy Hinton, former Houston Astros pitcher J.R. Richard, Tech and Chicago Bear fullback Roland Harper, former Ruston High, Tech and San Francisco 49er player Fred Dean, Baylor women’s basketball coach and former Tech All-American Kim Mulkey, former Grambling and New York Knicks basketball star Willis Reed, former Tech All-American and Utah Jazz NBA All-Star Karl Malone, and former Tech player and Tech women’s basketball coach Leon Barmore.

And that’s just a partial list.

Despite his having covered all those athletes and despite his having formulated close friendships with each of them, he still relishes visits from his everyday friends like Nico Van Thyn, Jack Thigpen, John Sachs, Gene Smith and others.

As Gene Smith and I left his room on Saturday, he said, “Thanks so much for coming by. I appreciate it.” And he meant it.

No, Buddy, thank you for all those years you gave to your hometown and your schools.

And thanks for being a friend and promoter to athletes—the wannabes and the real deals, the little kids and the not-so-little kids.

You are truly an MVP.


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Colorful. Vindictive. Unorthodox. Illegal. Underhanded. Flamboyant. Egotistical. Unethical. Dishonest. Freewheeling. No holds barred. Down and dirty. Deceitful. Unprincipled. Crooked. Bombastic. Pompous. Arrogant. Self-serving. Zealous.

These are just a few adjectives (believe me, there are many, many more) used by various news reporters down through the ages to describe Louisiana politics and its practitioners.

It may not compare to the quote about U.S. Rep. Claude Pepper by George Smathers, his opponent for the U.S. Senate in Florida way back in 1951:

“Are you aware,” Smathers told a rural, largely unsophisticated gathering, “that Claude Pepper is known all over Washington as a shameless extrovert? Not only that, but this man is reliably reported to practice nepotism with his sister-in-law and he has a sister who was once a thespian in wicked New York. Worst of all, it is an established fact that Mr. Pepper, before his marriage, habitually practiced celibacy and that he and his wife matriculated together before they were married.”

But there are other ways to undercut a political opponent without ever resorting to smear tactics, half-truths, or innuendo and U.S. Rep. Charles Boustany, a Republican, may have just found a way to damage the aspirations of two of his Democratic opponents for the U.S Senate seat being vacated by David Vitter.

Besides the descriptions applied to Louisiana politics in the opening paragraph, astute politicians—particularly conservative Republicans—have allowed two other words to creep into the political lexicon: Evangelicalism and Privatization—as homage to two blocs that have gained considerable stroke in recent years: the religious right and disciples of Milton Friedman’s free market economy.

Boustany, however, also is effectively employing Subterfuge and Misdirection in the tried and true fashion of a slight of hand stage magician and no one has noticed.

Until now.

So, in light of his somewhat low-key TV ads, how is he attempting to obtain an edge through furtive means?

Two words: Joshua Pellerin.

Since 2012, Pellerin, manager of Pellerin Real Estate Holdings and of Pellerin Energy Corp., has contributed at least $8,800 to Boustany’s campaigns for the U.S. House and, since 2015, another $6,800 to his campaign for the Senate.


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Pellerin also is the former manager of Preventive Vascular Screenings, LLC, and Pellerin Imaging Group, LLC.

Boustany is a cardiovascular surgeon, which makes the connection between the two men logical and explains why Pellerin would give financial support to Boustany’s campaigns for the U.S. House and now the U.S. Senate.

Wait. The U.S. Senate?

If you scroll down the list of the 24 candidates vying for the U.S. Senate, you will see that number 21 on that list (they’re in alphabetical order) is none other than Democrat Joshua Pellerin.

So we have a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate contributing $5,600 to the campaign of one of his leading opponents for the position—a Republican, no less.

That doesn’t make any since.


Unless Pellerin is a “dummy” candidate inserted into the race in an effort to draw votes away from fellow Democrats—Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell and Caroline Fayard.

So who is the “dummy” candidate on the Republican side to draw votes from Boustany’s biggest challenger, fellow physician and Republican U.S. Rep. John Fleming? Why, that would be none other than the ultimate dummy, David Duke. Fleming and Duke are battling for much of the same constituency—the Trumpers—and while Duke is destined to finish near the bottom, Fleming’s biggest hope is to pull enough votes from the former high potentate, imperial wizard, exalted grand sovereign (or whatever they call themselves these days) to sneak into the runoff.

It certainly wouldn’t be the first time such a dummy candidate has been propped up to split an opponent’s vote. There were rumors, denied by Edwin Edwards, that he had his supporters contribute to the campaign of Tea Party Republican Lenar Whitney two years ago in an attempt to boost her into the runoff which would have greased the skids for him to waltz into Congress. If true, it didn’t work as Garrett Graves ran a strong second to Edwards in the crowded primary and then easily defeated the former governor in the runoff.

The biggest problem facing Boustany is getting Pellerin’s name out there before a sufficient number of Democrat voters. For his part, Pellerin, who has amassed a war chest of only about $300,000 (as opposed to more than $4.3 million in contributions to Boustany), has been making the rounds of Democratic forums in South Louisiana.

With only three weeks before the Nov. 8 election and with such a meager bank account (much of which was contributed by several physicians in the Lafayette area), Pellerin’s best hope to gain name recognition will be those public forums. And with so few Louisiana voters inclined to vote for Democrats these days, it won’t take much chipping at the Campbell-Fayard base to deal crippling blows to their campaigns.

And typical for Louisiana, all it may take is a dummy.

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Contests for the U.S. House and Senate are going virtually unnoticed as the nation becomes more and more transfixed, shocked—and disgusted—at each new charge of sexual abuse and deleted emails that arises in a sordid presidential race no one dared imagine could ever happen in this country.

Also generally overlooked are scores of local elections scattered across Louisiana’s landscape.

One of those is the race for Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge Parish.

Incumbent Mayor-President and erstwhile candidate for Lieutenant Governor Kip Holden is term-limited and has now set his sights on the 2nd Congressional seat now held by U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond.

Predictably, the job has attracted quite a few applicants—12 to be precise. One of those is Republican State Sen. Bodi White of Central, coincidentally, the largest fundraiser to date.

With just over three weeks to go before the Nov. 8 election, White has begun his TV ad blitz. And like candidates before him (including Holden in his initial run) has included a campaign promise to “improve public education” by “building more schools.”

White knows full well there is no way he can make good on such a preposterous promise because the mayor-president has absolutely zero to do with education. That’s the responsibility of the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board into whose operations the mayor and parish council have no input.

He knows that but to voters who do not know, it sounds wonderful, like a promise from on high. And that’s the sad part; voters are generally uneducated on the issues and their decisions are often based on cockamamie sound bytes like the one currently being aired by White. He could just as easily say he’s going to build a wall along our southern border and make Mexico pay for it. There are, I’m certain, voters who would buy into that just as quickly.

But there’s more to white than blustering campaign rhetoric.

In 2008, he introduced a bill in the Legislature to create the Central Recreation and Park District and take Central out of BREC (BREC is an acronym for Baton Rouge Recreation—we don’t get it, either).

On May 6, 2008, he revealed his ownership interest in a tract of land BREC wanted for a park. Then on May 14, 2008, White and BREC director Bill Palmer announced a “compromise” under which White would withdraw this legislation to take Central out of BREC.

That “compromise” consisted of a resolution for BREC to purchase some of White’s business partner’s land and develop the adjacent land for the company by whom White was employed.

Not too shabby a deal if you can swing it and apparently his position as a state representative gave him just the political stroke to pull it off. No abuse of his office there.

In addition, BREC agreed to pay Parcel 52, LLC, $130,000 to help build a 750-foot-long road with curbs and sidewalks to the BREC site. The road goes through the center of the eight-acre commercial property owned by Parcel 52, LLC, and adds significant value to the commercial property, which could be developed for 10-20 commercial sites or offices. http://www.tigerdroppings.com/rant/politics/bodi-white-proof-that-louisiana-has-low-standards-brec-bribed-him/28772800/

Parcel 52, LLC was registered with the Secretary of State. The partners in the company were Brandon and E. Gordon Rogillio, Jr.  and Rep. Mack (Bodi) White. White, who later relinquished his interest in the property, is a realtor who works for Brandon Rogillio. http://centralcitynews.us/?p=3373

Gordon Rogillio later explained that White invested nothing in the property and received nothing in the transaction. http://centralcitynews.us/?p=3427

White’s boss prospered nicely, however, and therein lies the possible quid pro quo.

A timeline provided by a local newspaper, the Central City News, published by former State Rep. Woody Jenkins, further revealed details of the entire transaction: http://centralcitynews.us/?p=3373

In a throwback to the days of raging newspaper wars (days we sorely miss, by the way), a rival publication, Central Speaks, attempted to exonerate White from any wrongdoing in the BREC flap. http://www.centralspeaks.com/old/rep-bodi-white-brec-sports-park-just-the-facts/

Just another day in good old-fashioned Louisiana politics.

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After all the negative publicity about former Angola Warden Burl Cain, Thursday’s news release was almost enough to restore your faith in the Louisiana Department of Corrections.

That is, until you peel back the layers and take a deeper look beneath the typical hype that regularly comes out of state agencies in order to put them in the best light.

Like almost everything political, Rule One is follow the money. Rule Two is see Rule One.

The glowing news release trumpeted the news that auditors from the American Correctional Association (ACA) had given “high marks” to three Louisiana correctional facilities.

The release touted the 100 percent grades in mandatory standards attained by Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, David C. Knapps correctional Officer Training Academy, and Raymond Laborde Correctional Center. Knapps also received a 100 percent rating in non-mandatory standards and Angola and Laborde each received 93 percent in non-mandatory standards.

“ACA audits are done every three years. Other Louisiana state prisons not audited during this cycle will be re-audited in future cycles,” the news release concluded.

But what is accreditation from ACA really worth?

And how much did Department of Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc pay for the favorable ratings?

The likely answers to those questions are, in order: not much and plenty.


LouisianaVoice, almost three years to the day (Oct. 11, 2013) published harsh criticisms of ACA’s methods of accreditation.

In 2010, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) trumpeted the re-accreditation of five of its private prisons by ACA. But what CCA did not reveal was that it had paid ACA more than $22,000 for those five accreditations, that CCA employees serve as ACA auditors, that CCA is a major sponsor of ACA events or worse, and that accredited CCA facilities had experienced major security problems.

The ACA relies heavily on such fees; it reported receiving more than $4.5 million in accreditation fees in 2011 – almost half its total revenue that year. The organization thus has a financial incentive to provide as many accreditations as possible.

Notably, the accreditation process is basically a paper review. The ACA does not provide oversight or ongoing monitoring of correctional facilities, but only verifies whether a facility has policies that comply with the ACA’s self-promulgated standards at the time of accreditation. Following initial accreditation, facilities are re-accredited at three-year intervals.

But how do the courts view ACA accreditation – and comparable accreditation of prison and jail medical services by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) – both in terms of claims alleging violations of accreditation standards and as a defense by prison officials?

The U.S. Supreme Court noted in Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 543 n.27 (1979) that accreditation does not determine constitutionality. With respect to standards established by organizations such as the American Correctional Association, the Court wrote: “[W]hile the recommendations of these various groups may be instructive in certain cases, they simply do not establish the constitutional minima; rather, they establish goals recommended by the organization in question.” https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/2014/oct/10/how-courts-view-aca-accreditation/

The standards are established by the ACA with no oversight by government agencies, and the organization basically sells accreditation by charging fees ranging from $8,100 to $19,500, depending on the number of days and auditors involved and the number of facilities being accredited.

Perhaps it is only coincidence that LeBlanc is a member of the ACA’s Commission on Accreditation for Corrections  (go to the second page of this link) or that Burl Cain is still listed as a member of ACA’s Executive Committee.

One of ACA’s past presidents, Richard Stalder, while serving as Louisiana State Corrections Secretary in 1993, canceled spending on psychiatric counseling for troubled teens so that he could give out $2.7 million in raises to his staff, according to New Orleans Times-Picayune reporter Jack Wardlaw.

In 1998, the new Jena Juvenile Center came under fire for widespread problems, including a near-riot, poor teaching and security and physical abuse and in 1999 the juvenile facility in Tallulah was taken under state control after five years of repeated problems with private ownership despite its having received accreditation and a positive report only six months earlier from ACA and Stalder.

By 1995, the ACA accredited all 12 prisons in Louisiana, passing the last two with a 100 scores. That year, more than 125 prisoners sued Stalder for mistreatment within the prisons. Meanwhile, only a month after Angola prison of Louisiana was accredited, it was reported that around $32 million were needed for repairs so the prison could meet safety requirements, according to Baton Rouge Advocate reporter James Minton.

Stalder rejected all the claims, saying that he and his staff deserved “a pat on the back,” but in June of 1995, Federal Judge Frank Polozola criticized Stalder for the way in which he ran the state prison system.

“Louisiana incarcerates a higher proportion of our citizens than almost any other state,” Stalder said in 1995. “Yet we continue to be frustrated by the reality that many violent and dangerous people who should be locked up are not.”

Later that year, a doctor and a nurse reported severe problems with medical treatment at Angola. Prisoners with fractures were splinted, and then not seen for months, leading to bone deformities. Air from a tuberculosis ward was drawn into the main infirmary. A Justice Department report also found the prison’s medical records to be in terrible shape, according to Advocate reporter Fred Kalmbach.

In June of 1995, Judge Frank Polozola was critical of Stalder for his efforts to hold more inmates in the parish and private prisons of Louisiana, suggesting that Stalder was doing so in order to receive more money from the state government, which pays the sheriffs $21 per day per inmate in a private or parish prison, Minton wrote.

Polozola accused Stalder of catering to Louisiana’s sheriffs by refusing to allow state prisoners, who were supposed to be in the private prisons only temporarily, to return to the state prisons.

Just months later, Stalder was in trouble again when he allowed a can relabeling plant to open illegally at the Angola Prison. He was fined $500. Inmate William Kissinger, a legal adviser to other inmates, then sued Stalder for $600,000 after he reported the relabeling plant to authorities and was consequently removed from Angola prison and put on a prison farm.

The prison at Angola, meanwhile, received the same score from the ACA in 1996 as it did when it was first accredited in 1993.

Although the Louisiana state juvenile facilities attracted attention during 1997 for reports of abuse from guards at the facilities, Stalder himself was not in the spotlight until a private investigator found evidence that Stalder had allowed a priest who had been imprisoned for child molestation to receive special treatment at Wade correctional facility while Stalder was a warden there.

Because Jena’s goal was to meet the accreditation standards, The ACA was also criticized and characterized as “not highly respected…they will judge a facility on whether they have policies and procedures in written form,” wrote Times-Picayune reporter Steve Ritea.


We can’t wait ACA’s re-audit of the other state prisons.

Any bets on what those scores will be?

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