Can you sue for false imprisonment?

It seems like Louisiana has a problem with false imprisonment — one that comes with financial motives that aren’t too hard to discern.

False imprisonment is the unlawful and purposeful restraint or detention of an individual without the person’s consent. It seems like that would be a pretty straightforward thing to remember, especially if you’re operating a prison.

However, at least two men (and there are likely more who have experienced similar problems, but have yet to step forward) are filing federal lawsuits after being illegally held in a remote Louisiana prison for about five months before they were finally released.

In both cases, the men had been unable to bond out while they waited their turn before the judge in New Orleans. Both men pleaded guilty to their fairly minor offenses and were granted “time served,” which means they’d completed their sentences while waiting for their hearings.

In theory, they should have then been transported back to the remote River Bend Detention Center (RBDC) in East Carroll Parish, allowed to gather their things, and then released. The RBDC is a private for-profit prison that functions as a holding zone for the overflow from the parish jail in New Orleans.

That isn’t what happened. Instead, both men were shipped 250 miles and put right back in their cells. The families of both men protested repeatedly and were completely ignored. It wasn’t until someone involved a civil rights agency, the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, in the issue.

The private detention center gets paid for each prisoner they house, so there’s significant financial incentive for them to keep their cells full — even when the prisoner is supposed to be released.

If you’ve been the victim of false imprisonment at the hands of police or others, consider talking to a personal injury attorney today. For more information on how our office approaches personal injury claims and can help protect your rights, please visit our page.

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