September 21, 2019

It’s Monday morning in the Municipal and Traffic Court of New Orleans — misdemeanor rush hour in a city that traffics more heavily than most in public drunkenness and disturbing the peace.

Fifty-two arrestees, outfitted in orange and maroon jumpsuits, await their first appearance before a judge. Most are black. All require a public defender. And more than half of them are h...

Jailed people are pictured at the Orleans Justice Center jail on Monday, Aug. 27, 2018. (Photo by David Grunfeld, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune)

Clerical errors are a common cause of “ghost warrants,” which can send someone to jail for an outdated or defunct warrant that still appears on the person’s record, according to The Marshall Project and Guardian.

The partnering outl...

Last month, Causey Davis found himself in handcuffs in the back of a New Orleans police cruiser, bewildered. Held there for over an hour, he was finally informed that an inaccurate arrest warrant—which court records show was dismissed 25 years ago—had somehow appeared under his name in the cops’ computer system. (Photo by William Widmer for The Marshall Project)

R...

Daniel Tapia said he just stared when he got news Tuesday (April 16) that one of his clients was shot dead outside his Algiers apartment.

In Tapia’s line of work, coordinating a prison re-entry program in New Orleans, he’s encountered clients who have shown red flags. Jamonta Johnson wasn’t one of them. NOPD spokesman Aaron Looney said there’s no new information to rel...

With Mardi Gras behind us, the season for Lenten fish fries is here. Besides the usual church and community events, a weekly fry at Mid-City’s The First 72+ (2917 Perdido St.) offers diners something different.

On Friday, which is International Women’s Day, the nonprofit will donate $1 of every plate sold to Operation Restoration, an organization that supports currentl...

There is a garden next to the house on Perdido Street, and a red dog house on the porch that used to belong to a street dog named Frank. You can tell it’s a place where people feel comfortable, a community center.

It’s also a place where 50 men have found new lives right after they got out of prison.

The group that runs the house, The First 72+, helps formerly incarcerated p...

September 22, 2018

When the executive director of a New Orleans nonprofit dedicated to helping people after they leave prison asks for grant money, she sometimes hits a snag. Potential donors will tell her they can’t give money to a group that’s staffed by the formerly incarcerated. One even rescinded an offer that already had been made.

“It sort of felt like: What along the way made you not...

 (Photo by Shawn Fink)

For Osby Bryant, $35 is a lifeline. That’s how much the federal food stamp program sends every month to the Shreveport native, who spent 43 years in prison for murder.

Now free on parole in New Orleans, the 70-year-old Bryant is slowly rebuilding his life. He works from 5 a.m. to noon every day as a carpenter while he saves money for an apartment.

“When...

September 19, 2018

Antonio Montgomery was released from prison a little more than two months ago. He served 14 years following armed robbery and simple kidnapping charges. Like so many other inmates, when he was released he was given a $10 check and bus ticket. One out of every two people released from prison in our state will return within five years, according to the Louisiana Department o...

For decades, the state of Louisiana has been known as the incarceration capital of America. But over the past year, the state has been trying to shed that reputation with new reforms that decrease the prison population and save money. William Brangham went to find how it’s playing out for former prisoners, in a story produced by Frank Carlson in partnership with the Pulitz...

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