Organization to host Prisoners’ Rights Conference at Southeastern

Contact: Rene Abadie
Date: September 10, 2012

      HAMMOND – The Southeastern Sociological Association will host a prisoners' rights conference Friday, Sept. 14, at Southeastern Louisiana University.

     Scheduled for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the War Memorial Student Union, the conference is open to the public. Speakers will examine issues related to prisoners' rights in Louisiana. The program is expected to draw academic professionals, as well as lawyers, students, advocates, activists and former prisoners.

     Registration is $25 for professionals, $12 for students and low income individuals and free for former prisoners. Registration can be paid at the door and includes lunch. More information can be obtained from Conference Coordinator Rebecca Hensley at 985-549-5731, or 985-201-4393 or by e-mail at

     "One out of every 86 adults in Louisiana is behind bars," said Hensley, an instructor in sociology at Southeastern.

     According to Hensley, the State of Louisiana has more people incarcerated per capita than any other societal group in the history of the human race.

     The keynote address entitled "The Business of Incarceration in Louisiana: Do Prisoners Have Human Rights?" will be delivered by Bill Quigley, professor and director of the Law Clinic and the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola University in New Orleans. Quigley is also associate legal director at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York.

     The program will include other speakers, breakout sessions, planning workgroups and time to network. Sessions will cover a variety of topics, including long-term solitary confinement, capital punishment, natural life sentencing, minority over-representation, community re-entry issues and burdens on prisoners' families.

     Conference sponsors include the Community Futures Collective, the Campaign to Free the Angola 3, and the New Orleans office of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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