by Cindy Knoebel
On May 29, ICE reported 7 confirmed cases of COVID-19 at the LaSalle Correctional Center in Olla, LA. On June 1, the figure was revised without explanation to 3. Two days later, the figure was back up to 5 and, as of today, there are now 6 confirmed cases at the facility.
Inaccurate reports, inadequate testing, frequent transfers of people between detention centers, limited sanitation supplies, quarantine, medical neglect ... and death. This is what over 24,000 detained immigrants are facing as the pandemic continues to spread.
Louisiana ranks among the top ten states hit hardest by the virus (as measured by cases per one million people), with over 44,000 confirmed cases and nearly 3,000 deaths.
Recently, a Freedom for Immigrants hotline volunteer received a letter from people detained at La Salle to LA Governor Edwards describing conditions at the facility:
Detained people are trapped in a system already rife with abuse and neglect. Fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, children and senior citizens now find themselves helpless and unprotected from a virus that continues to rage globally while ICE and the private prison industry respond with indifference.