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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

La. prison system refuses to release inmate photo

The Shreveport (La.) Times requested a photo of a 73-year-old inmate at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. The inmate, who once was a towering, 220-pound man, has apparently deteriorated, been ill and requested a clemency recommendation that would make him eligible for parole and early release. The Department of Corrections said it only releases inmate photos in cases where one escapes custody. They also are not allowing a photographer to visit the prison to photograph the inmate, though they have allowed photography of inmates in the past.
The request seemed simple enough: a current photograph of a Louisiana Department of Corrections inmate.

But what would ensue would be a series of e-mails, jockeying with DOC, a Freedom of Information Act request, and ultimately, no photo.

I had been working on stories about a 73-year-old inmate named Douglas Dennis, incarcerated at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. In January, Dennis had sought a clemency recommendation from the state Pardon Board, which, if signed by the governor, would mean Dennis would be eligible for parole and early release from his two life sentences.
More here.

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