For years, people arrested in East Baton Rouge Parish who appeared before Judge Trudy White have been jailed unless they pay a $525 fee to a private corporation called Rehabilitation Home Incarceration (“RHI”). This fee is paid by each person for their own pre-trial release. This fee is paid in addition to any bail amount required by the judge as a condition for that person’s release. This has been going on for at least three years in the parish.
RHI’s involvement in the criminal justice system of East Baton Rouge has turned pre-trial release into a for-profit concern that fuels wealth-based incarceration. This financial burden harms low-income people who have not been convicted of a crime, and violates the U.S. Constitution, federal law, and Louisiana law. On behalf of its plaintiffs, the ACLU, ACLU of Louisiana, and the Southern Poverty Law Center have filed this class action RICO (Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization Acts) and civil rights lawsuit to protect the due process rights of people in East Baton Rouge and to stop a blatant extortion scheme in the parish.