Featured Case: Challenge to Forced Labor Practices at Angola

July 2, 2024

The entrance to the Louisiana State Penitentiary - The placard says "Louisiana State Penitentiary" and "Warden Burl Cain"

On September 16, 2023, the grassroots organization Voice of the Experienced (VOTE), together with several men serving sentences in Louisiana, filed this putative class action lawsuit challenging the compulsory agricultural work, known as the "Farm Line," to which people are subjected to at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, commonly referred to as Angola.  The plaintiffs challenged the work conditions as violating the Eighth and Thirteenth Amendments and the ADA and Rehabilitation Act.  

On May 13, 2024, with discovery underway, the plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order, asking the court to enjoin the defendants from operating the Farm Line when the heat index was at or above 88 degrees Fahrenheit until this action was resolved.  On June 5, 2024, the court granted the DOC’s motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ Thirteenth Amendment claim related to people serving sentences deriving from non-unanimous convictions, reasoning that to grant relief on the claim would require a "paradoxical" conclusion that such convictions were legally valid, but, at the same time, violated the Thirteenth Amendment. The case remains ongoing as to the other claims. 

Read more about the case and find relevant documents here

Related Cases

Voice of the Experienced (VOTE) v. LeBlanc, Middle District of Louisiana (2023)