Loading...
September 23, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions

What agencies comprise the Department of Public Safety and Corrections?

The set up of the Department can be confusing to many people. Constitutionally, it is one Department.
Practically, the Department is divided into three areas: Corrections Services (overseeing the assignment and
care of adult offenders, including those under Probation and/or Parole supervision), Public Safety Services
(comprised of Louisiana State Police, the Office of Motor Vehicles, the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the
Highway Safety Commission) and the Office of Youth Development (which is responsible for juvenile
offenders). Each entity reports directly to the Governor. The Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and
Corrections oversees Corrections Services.

Why aren’t all DOC offenders housed in state facilities?

At present, there are more than 40,000 offenders serving time for state felonies. Louisiana simply doesn’t
have the capacity to house all of these offenders in state correctional facilities. Capacity at state facilities is
about 19,000. Therefore, the state relies upon parish and private facilities throughout Louisiana to house and
care for offenders. The state reimburses these entities for housing offenders.

Does the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections have rules for offenders and
how are those rules communicated to them?

As part of the orientation process, offenders are notified of the rules and procedures that govern them while
incarcerated. Disciplinary Rules and Procedures for Adult Offenders is also known as the Offender
Rulebook and offenders have access to the rulebook at all state correctional facilities, as well as local level
parish and private jails where state offenders may be assigned. As such, when offenders have questions or
concerns, they should refer to the Offender Rulebook for guidance and proper procedure in dealing with their
concerns. We encourage families to understand that part of the rehabilitation process for the offender
while incarcerated is learning to accept responsibility for oneself and following the rules and procedures for
obtaining information or addressing grievances about situations that affect him or her. Any correctional
officer or the offender’s classification officer will be able to assist them should they need help
understanding appropriate procedure. As such, inquiries should be initiated by the offender through the
appropriate staff member where he/she is assigned and not through a family member.

How does an offender file a grievance about a particular issue?

Offenders are first encouraged to speak with staff if they have an issue of concern or need. However, if for
some reason communicating with a staff member is not helpful, they are asked to put their concerns in writing
and submit the letter to appropriate staff. Lastly, if these mechanisms do not answer their question or
address their grievance, they may submit the issue through the Administrative Remedy Procedure (ARP).
The Department and all local jails housing state offenders have established Administrative Remedy Procedures
(ARP) through which an offender may, in writing, request a formal review of a complaint related to any aspect
of his incarceration. Such complaints include actions pertaining to conditions of confinement, personal
injuries, medical malpractice, time computations, or challenges to rules, regulations, policies, or statutes.
Through this procedure, offenders shall receive reasonable responses and where appropriate, meaningful
remedies.

How can an offender be transferred to another facility?

Offenders are assigned to facilities based on custody classification, space availability, level of care designations
(medical and/or mental health), and many other contributing factors. While DOC would like to make
assignments with only geographical considerations in mind, it is not possible to do this based on the demand
for beds in various areas of the state. As such, offenders are placed in locations that best meet their needs
and the space needs of the Department. Written transfer requests should be initiated by the offender to the
Warden of the facility at which he/she is assigned. The request should include specific explanations for the
transfer. When offenders are moved into state operated facilities, they are usually first processed through the
Adult Reception and Diagnostic Center (ARDC) at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center before being assigned to a
permanent location. Headquarters does not get involved in specific transfer requests, as assignments are
coordinated through the appropriate classification process at the assigning facility or local jail.

How can I obtain an offender’s release date?

If an offender’s release date has been calculated, you can contact the Department’s automated system at 225-
383-4580 with the offender’s name and either his/her date of birth or DOC number to find out his/her release
date, facility or P&P District Office to which he/she is assigned and contact information for those locations. If
there is no date available on this system, the time calculation has not been completed yet and callers are
encouraged to call again later. This system is automatically updated and will have the information as soon as
it is available. If a person has recently been sentenced to DOC custody, it can take up to 12 weeks to calculate
a date as the Department has to receive official paperwork from the sentencing court in order to calculate the
offender’s release date.

What if the offender disagrees with the time computation used to determine a release date?

Every offender is sent a copy of his or her Master Prison Record document reflecting the calculation of their
sentence when the calculation is complete. If there are questions about time computation, offenders housed
in state facilities should write the Records Office at his/her assigned facility. For offenders housed in local
facilities, he/she is advised they may submit his/her questions in writing following the Administrative Remedy
Process. While offenders often ask family members or friends to contact the Office of Adult Services on their
behalf about time computation questions, the offender should be encouraged to follow appropriate
procedures to ensure that staff has the information and time needed to respond to his or her concerns.

Can offenders earn credit for participation in certain educational or rehabilitative programs?

Offenders who participate in Certified Treatment Rehabilitation Programs can write the program coordinator
if he/she has questions about their eligibility for program credits. Offenders who do not agree with credits
given for any particular program may file a grievance under the Administrative Remedy Procedure as noted in
Time Computation Section.

How does an offender sign up for educational and rehabilitative programs?

Offenders may request to participate in programs through Classification in state facilities and through Program
Coordinators at the local facilities. Requests should be submitted in writing to the appropriate person by the
offender.

How does an offender get into the Transitional Work Program (formerly known as Work
Release)?

An offender’s work release eligibility date is noted on the Master Prison Record as WRE. Staff will
automatically evaluate an offende’s eligibility for this program when he or she becomes eligible. If an
offender has questions about his/her eligibility for the Transitional Work Program, he/she should write the
Warden at the facility where they are assigned. Unless precluded by law or Department regulation, in general
offenders are eligible for the Transitional Work Program up to three years prior to their discharge date. There
are some instances in which an offender’s eligibility is limited to the 6 months or 12 months of his or her
incarceration, based on his offense and time served. Staff will be able to assist the offender in understanding
when he or she will be eligible for Transitional Work Program participation.
Eligibility does not ensure placement in the Transition Work Program as there are usually more offenders
eligible then there are jobs available. The Department makes every effort to place eligible offenders in the
program, although it may not be for the entire period of their eligibility.

What are the Department’s procedures for allowing offenders to make phone calls?

All offenders should only have access to telephone services through the provided phone system at the facility
where they are assigned. Each offender at state operated correctional facilities is limited to having up to 20
approved numbers on his/her master telephone list. This includes all family, personal and legal contacts.
Changes to the offender’s master telephone list can be made on a quarterly basis and is directed by the
administration of the facility. To set up billing accounts for phone service or if there are problems receiving
calls, family members may contact 1-800-44-6591 for telephone related inquiries. The staff at this number
will not be able to assist in approval of contact lists.
Offenders housed in local level facilities must utilize the phone systems that are set up in those facilities.
Information on how to use the system can be obtained from the staff at the assigned facility by the offender.
In no instance is an offender allowed to possess or utilize a cellular telephone while incarcerated. Family and
friends are warned not to send or bring cellular telephones to offenders and doing so will result in prosecution
for introduction of contraband into a correctional facility and may be subject to a fine up to $2000 and up to
five years in prison.

What are the rules for visiting offenders?

Offenders are permitted to request up to 10 approved visitors. The offender is responsible for initiating the
request to have an individual added to his list, as well as for ensuring approved visitors are advised of changes
in his or her visiting privileges. The offender is given information on the process for adding or changing his
visiting list and staff are available to help him where needed.
Visitors are sent information relative to the rules and procedures for visiting with the application for being
considered as an approved visitor.
You are reminded that the offender may also refuse a visit at any time and staff may terminate visiting at any
time for security reasons or if the offender or visitor violates the rules governing visiting.
Visitation is considered a privilege and not a right and violation of rules may result in termination of the visit,
loss of the offender’s visiting privileges, banning of the visitor from entering the institution or its grounds
and/or criminal charges as circumstances warrant.
A few helpful reminders:
– All prospective visitors are screened for criminal history prior to approval and, once approved, on
regular basis. Persons with convictions or pending criminal charges may be considered ineligible to
visit.
– A visitor can be on only one offender’s visiting list per institution unless that visitor is a family member
of more than one offender. The burden of proof and documentation will be the responsibility of the
offender and his family.
– All visitors 18 years of age and older must have picture identification in order to visit an offender.
– Visitors are allowed to bring only enough cash money for vending machines and/or concessions into
the visiting area. Any financial transactions brought in for deposit into an offender’s account will only
be accepted through available JPay kiosks.
– Visitors should be aware that visiting areas are designed to cultivate a family atmosphere for family
and friends of all ages. Visitors should dress and act accordingly. Specific rules relative to appropriate
clothing for visiting is sent as a matter of routine to visitors as part of the visitor application packet.
– Without warning, visitors are subject to a search of their vehicles, possessions and persons. This is
necessary to preclude the introduction of weapons, ammunition, explosives, cell phones, alcohol,
escape devices, drugs, drug paraphernalia or other forbidden items or contraband into the prison
environment.
– All visitors with disabilities will have readily accessible facilities and will be reasonably accommodated
as appropriate and to the extent possible within the context of the Department’s fundamental mission
to preserve the safety of the public, staff and offenders. Advance notice of the accommodation
requested will be necessary to ensure its availability at the time of the visit.

Visiting with Sex Offenders
Offenders who have a current or prior conviction for a sex crime involving a minor child family member, or
who have a documented history of sex abuse with a minor child family member, are ineligible to visit with any
minor child, including their own biological or step-child.
Offenders who have a current or prior conviction for a sex crime involving a minor child who is not a family
member are ineligible to visit with any minor child. However, at the Warden’s discretion, such offenders may
be authorized to visit with their own biological child. The legal guardian shall submit a written request and
shall accompany the minor child during the visit. If approved by the Warden, the visit may be contact or noncontact
at the Warden’s discretion.
The Warden may consider special visits for offenders who have successfully completed or are participating
satisfactorily in sex offender treatment when the legal guardian has submitted a written request and
accompanies the minor child during the visit.

How are disciplinary matters handled as it relates to offenders? What about their right to
appeal?

Offenders are put on notice about how the disciplinary process works while incarcerated and the procedures
are outlined in the rulebook. They are also advised of their right to appeal at the time of a disciplinary hearing
and the appeal must be submitted to the facility at which the hearing occurred. Any issues regarding
disciplinary matters should be handled through these procedures. An offender who needs help understanding
these procedures may ask staff at the facility where he or she is housed for assistance.

Can offenders receive packages and mail (letters and publications) from family and friends?

Upon intake into a state facility, offenders are provided information in writing about the Department’s rules
for handling of offender mail, utilizing the Notification of Mail Handling form. Offenders are not allowed to
receive packages or publications from their families. However, family and friends are allowed to send
correspondence, which must be addressed to the facility to which the offender is housed and must include the
offenders name and DOC number on the envelope. Offenders may receive standard size greeting cards
through the mail. However, musical greeting cards are not allowed. In addition, do not send cash or stamps
through the mail or photographs that have a hardback. These particular items will be rejected and cash will be
confiscated.

Can I send money to an offender?

Offenders can receive money from in the following ways:
a. via mail;
b. via walk up locations for Money Gram;
c. via internet;
d. via telephone; or
e. via kiosks
Details on sending offenders money can be found at: http://www.doc.la.gov/quicklinks/offender-info/jpay/
Funds cannot be sent to offenders from other offenders or the families of other offenders without prior
approval of the Warden. Funds cannot be sent to offenders from ex-offenders or their families, or employees
and their families
If an offender has questions about their financial account, they are encouraged to ask staff or write a letter to
the business office where they are assigned and a written response will be provided explaining the finding of
their account review. Offender families will not be given information relative to offender bank accounts.

How can I access hearing schedules for the Board of Pardons and Parole?

Parole Board hearing schedules are posted on the website at: http://www.doc.la.gov/quicklinks/parole-board/parole-dockets/
Pardon Board hearing schedules are posted at: http://www.doc.la.gov/quicklinks/pardon-board/dockets-and-decisions/

How can I check on the medical/mental health of an offender?

Due to confidentiality, release of medical/mental health information is strictly governed by regulation. If you
are inquiring about a specific offender and are not authorized by regulation to access this information,
appropriate release of information forms must be on file and then only authorized staff members may discuss
this information with you. In these cases, you should contact the facility where the offender is housed. Please
be aware that even in instances where one is authorized to access this information, only general information
will be shared over the phone.
Offenders are oriented on how to access the medical staff 24/7 at the facility where he or she is housed
through established sick call procedures. In serious medical situations, any staff member will assist an
offender in obtaining medical treatment. Medical staff will make a determination about his/her treatment.

How can I report suspected abuse or mistreatment of an offender?

Serious concerns of abuse or mistreatment that puts an offender in immediate danger, should be directed to
the Warden of the facility where the offender is housed.

How can I obtain demographic information on Louisiana’s prison population?

Please visit the Statistics section of this website: http://www.doc.la.gov/quicklinks/statistics/

Does the Department allow the purchase of inmate records?

Under Louisiana law, particularly the provisions of R.S. 15:574.12, the records of offenders (past, present or
future), in the custody of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Corrections Services is confidential
and cannot be disclosed, directly or indirectly, to anyone. This is not to say that some information, in the
hands of another state agency or subdivision of the state, is not available. However, pursuant to state law,
while held by this Department, that information is confidential. Consequently, we are unable to accommodate
any request for any kind of data sharing on any terms.

DOC Most WantedPrison Enterprises