Stop Unfairly Imprisoning Poor People

Target: Jeff Landry, Attorney General of Louisiana

Goal: End corrupt imprisonment of poor people.

A city judge in Louisiana is jailing poor people in a modern-day version of a debtors’ prison. Robert J. Black of Bogalusa has been placing people in prison for failure to pay minor fines or court costs, an infuriating injustice that must be stopped immediately.

According to a lawsuit filed against Black, the judge frequently sends people to jail if they are unable to find the funds to pay for traffic tickets or other misdemeanor crimes. Making the situation more troubling is the fact that Black’s court is funded by court costs and fees, meaning that he has a clear incentive to unfairly punish these people and force payment by threatening jail time.

Legal director Sam Brooke claims, “Bogalusa’s court system is funded off the backs of the poor… Judges should not be extorting money out of defendants to keep the lights on in their courtroom.” This is a clear case of an official abusing his power. Sign the petition below to demand that this corrupt system be put to an end.


Dear Mr. Landry,

I am writing to call your attention to an extremely troubling situation in Bogalusa, where a judge is imprisoning low-income residents who cannot afford to pay court fines. Judge Robert J. Black has been placing people in prison for failing to summon the money required to pay for traffic tickets and other minor misdemeanors. More troubling is the fact that Black’s court is funded by these fines, meaning that he has a clear incentive to unfairly punish these people.

Elected officials must serve the public, not extort and threaten them. I urge you to put an end to this corrupt system and end Black’s hold on the people of Bogalusa.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Aliven Sarkar

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