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#OneRouge Friday Community Check-In (Weeks 42,43)

Updated: Mar 29, 2021

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in EBR, The Walls Project has been hosting weekly video calls with leaders of nonprofits, foundations, city government, and local businesses from a

cross the parish. The intention of these weekly community check-ins is to share information and resources to help the Baton Rouge community respond and recover from the pandemic. Weekly topics range from access to basic needs such as food, medical care, and safety to thought-leaders' insights on equitable opportunities for youth enrichment, nonprofit financial solvency, surge in unemployment, and the disproportionate impact on impoverished neighborhoods in regards to accessing fresh food.


'Food Insecurity Coalition (EBRFIC) : Health Equity'

Meeting Notes Prepared by Zoe Haddad (Walls Project)

  • When we talk about health equity, the first name that came to mind for me is Ms Alma Stewart and all the work she’s been doing with Louisiana Health Equity as a group and the summit they have every year

  • LA ranks #45 in healthcare - on every list of things that are good we’re at the bottom and bad we’re at the top

  • So many opportunities to address it - food insecurity, minimum wage, maternal death and child care all impact healthy equity

  • We have a host of issues that exist, but what are we going to do about it?

  • Look at mental health and teen suicide - there’s an alarming rate of more young black men committing suicide, deeply personal subject for me because my biological mother committed suicide when I was 2 months old and to think 35 years later we still haven’t figured out how do we help people better navigate through life...that’s not the option, we need to be focused on a more just system

  • How much does a family have in resources to provide the level of healthcare, encompassing all the things I just discussed, they need? Our state has consistently lagged behind

  • Organized to fight for an emergency room in North EBR, proud to say we were successful, since Mayor Broome was elected now there is a plan for Howell Place, the development that sat vacant for 10 or 15 years and now there’s going to be primary care there, services for elderly people, there’s always been an eye doctor there...but in the river parishes, how long does it take those folks to get ot an ER? I asked what do people do if someone has a stroke or heart attack? And they said they die. That’s unacceptable.

  • From a policy perspective I’ve been supportive of Medicare for all

  • People say how do you pay for Medicare for all? We spend $700 billion on the US military and we couldn’t protect the US Capitol. Telling me we don’t have the money isn’t true, we just need to prioritize differnely. No one ever has an issue moving money from education or health care, it’s only when we talk about guns and weapons that it becomes an issue.

  • We have to rethink where we put our money

  • I’m an openly liberal person, I don’t apologize for that

  • There doesn't have to be a war of ideology all the time, it’s a simple answer - is this right or wrong?

  • People should have access to health care, women should have complete autonomy over their bodies, black women specifically shouldn’t be discriminated against when they go to the hospital - I told a story a few months ago of a Vice Principal here in BR who, basically her baby died because they didn’t believe she had the health insurance needed to transfer her baby to a hospital to get the care she needed and her social worker at the hospital was under the impression that she had Medicaid. Why are we discriminating against people when they go and get care?

  • Who takes care of the working poor? We talk all the time about people pulling up their bootstraps, but LA ranks last in the nation, the only way we right that is to be honest about our issues and strategically apply resources

  • We have to find the funding which we know is out there

  • Make sure every American citizen specifically in LA has access to healthcare and insurance

  • There’s this talk in the health community about people using the Emergency Room instead of a primary care physician, but people are going to the ER because they can’t afford to go to the doctor and they know they can’t be turned away at the ER

  • The problem is not the people going to the wrong place but people not being able to afford the care they need

  • I’ll say it again - in the richest country on earth, it is unacceptable that people don’t have access to care

  • We continue to move forward, work groups A, B and C have galvanized their short, medium, and long term goals at about 85% with room for new ideas

  • Group A - funders

  • Group B - practitioners with three subgroups

  • Group C - data and policy work

Jan Ross, HAWF

Group A

  • Focusing on seeking outside funders

  • Created a list of “capacity building”, that is documents that would be needed on grant applications as well as questions that may be asked in applications to give anyone in the FIC or OneRouge some advance notice so to speak of what kind of infrastructure is needed to participate or be a partner in a grant

  • Going forward, what is the process for those to be included, whether it be a grant application or a partnership?

  • There are some small wins within the coalition but we look forward to really making some headway with funding for the group

Group B

  • The largest collective of the folks within FIC (urban farmers, distributors, providers, food literacy, folks working within the system itself)

  • Subgroup focused on meeting the immediate need and filling the gaps in service through distribution and partnerships with other organizations on the ground (faith-based, medical, parks, grocery stores)

  • The subcommittee is currently working to reorganize, to understand the who and the what of what folks are doing in EBR as it relates to food insecurity and make connections to all the organizations within the issue to coordinate and better solve the immediate need for food right now while also looking forward with how to supplement coordination with Groups A and C, the future gaps in service, as well as how to improve distribution

Korey Patty, Feeding Louisiana

Group C

  • Largely responsible for data and policy work and that includes creating a picture of what is happening across the provider landscape, the work all of the organizations participating in Group B are providing, who and where they’re serving, their challenges, etc.

  • Compare that to the landscape and the situation on the ground for food insecure people

  • We have a lot of good data from Feeding America and our partner Urban Footprint who is doing some real time tracking across the state that we can zoom in on a city, parish, census track level

  • Largely putting together that comparison, what is the need and what resources are available

  • On the other side, talking about the policy and programs that exist to address FI

  • Our providers are doing a lot of really good work across the city but we need these federal programs to address food insecurity holistically

  • Mostly talking about SNAP - had DCFS come in to talk about SNAP administration, how people can get in the program

  • Liz Perry spoke about the assistance LSU Health Baton Rouge North Clinic is providing to clients coming in needing nutrition education, connecting them with SNAP benefits

  • Connect with us to gain an understanding of how clients can be better served by these programs

  • A lot of our work is increasing the education around these programs and working with state agencies to make sure programs operate as effectively and efficiently as possible

Casey Phillips, The Walls Project

  • Next week Katie Pritchett (CAUW) will be circulating the EBRFIC Case for Support presenting the long term work of the coalition as a whole

  • There’s a lot of room to get involved, a lot of room for input

  • Between everything Healthy BR and Geaux Get Healthy is doing with the FIC, the Health District, it’s about interconnecting all these efforts together

  • Doesn’t happen overnight - those short term goals are for people who are very action orientated, ready to hit the ground running

  • Medium and long really about creating continuums, eliminating redundancies, sharing resources and knowledge, moving towards better policy that serves a broader range of people

Elizabeth Perry, LSU Health Baton Rouge

  • Recently had a discussion about disparities with COVID19 vaccines

  • There’s a lot out there on national and local news, especially this week with Mayor Broome

  • There is racial disparity...The great news is we haven’t seen that disparity at our clinic in North Baton Rouge. We have people coming from all over the parish to our clinic which was very much unnoticed before, it’s been great to see different backgrounds coming together as one and seeing what we offer in North Baton Rouge

  • One thing we struggle with is health care and communication

  • Communicating need and availability of health care to individuals in lower income areas especially if they don’t have access to cell phones, internet, or social media

  • Spot on about the struggles health care has across LA, it’s a nationwide issue really

  • One of the admins at BR General, and I echo what Elizabeth said about the issues surrounding communication

  • The disparities in healthcare have been spotlighted because of COVID but these have grown over decades and decades

  • When we’re getting these vaccine supplies we need to make sure that we are distributing them equitably to as many corners of the community as possible

  • Specifically we need to make sure that we’re working with organizations, we talk to a large amount of churches in the area, and even with some of the troubles we’ve run into getting sustainable supplies we want to meet people where they’re at

  • If we focus on education, registration, transportation, and then eventually getting people vaccinated I think we’ll have a successful run over the next couple months

Reginald Johnson, SVDP

  • Focus Foods has free home-delivered frozen meal and snack boxes to all children within the parish for the duration of the spring school semester

  • Households that are interested in receiving these free meals just need to complete the short enrollment form and Focus Foods will deliver these meals directly to their home:

Emily Chatelain, Three O’ Clock Project

  • EBR is doing their delivery right now targeting kids who aren’t in school on the weekends and for virtual kids. It is available to any EBR child, not just students

  • We have partnered with the EBR Housing Authority, launching direct home meal deliveries...Hopefully have a bigger project with Baton Roots and Boy Scouts and others entities partnering with the Housing Authority to make sure no child goes hungry

Mary Wilkinson, EBRP

  • Providing food for our virtual students seven days a week

  • They do have to sign up for it...One of our biggest problems is parents signing up and someone has to be at home to receive the food and sometimes they’re not there

  • Children 18 and under are eligible and children with special needs are eligible up to 21

Coalition Questions and Discussion

Georquel Goodwin, Department of Education: I’ve seen a great disparity when it comes to the transition of COVID and the allocation of food for those in public schools and those not going to in-class settings. Do you have any solution or feedback for that, anything federally you would like to see allocated in the community?

Gary Chambers: Our children are really struggling through this. We don’t realize how many children...that’s their meal when they go to school, that’s when they’re guaranteed to eat breakfast, lunch, a snack. It’s important from a federal level to make sure with the COVID relief packages that there is funding in our local school district because it is no fault to these children or their parents that this pandemic is here. Because of the mismanagement of the government in addressing this pandemic, I believe the government has an obligation and responsibility to take care of its citizens. Local municipalities are strapped for cash, states even...the money just isn’t there. The federal government is sending money but is it enough to meet that need? What are our plans on a state and local level to build that out and ensure students are getting the food they need?

We don’t know how long this is going to go on, but we’ve got to figure out how to make sure people have what they need.

Reverend Anderson, P.R.E.A.C.H.: With the tracking of health disparities - because our system is so privatized and segregated, do you have any plans or have thought about where the federal government could help by requiring standardized data reporting as a requirement to receive funding?

GC: My policy moving forward, I’m going to always talk to the people on the ground fighting for reforms and find out what are the policies they want to see happen. Too often elected officials try to act like they are subject matter experts on things they’ve never even read a white paper on. I always say “In God We Trust, everybody else bring data” - the more data we have the better we understand what we’re dealing with. Can’t really address the problem if we don’t have the scope of it.

Casey Phillips: Korey, what are some federal policies that you feel need to shift in order to get resources on the ground?

Korey Patty: I think it comes back to our conversation about SNAP, lots of adjustments have been made particularly in response to the pandemic. All of them have sunsets attached to the most recent change we’ve seen from the COVID relief packages extends and maximizes SNAP through the end of June. The economic effects of the pandemic, people losing wages, jobs, hours, is not going to be over by the middle of this summer. We’re pushing for language that extends these policies through the end of the public health crisis and economic downturn. There are a number of other programs that are important to the work of the anti-hunger space: Department of Agriculture, emergency food assistance program, food banks...Our focus has been food, funds and flexibility. Make more food available by allocating dollars and make them easier for people to gain access to

GC: I echo what he’s saying about the need to consider beyond the pandemic. If you lose your job and get a new job, you don’t automatically recover, you need a few checks under your belt before you can rightside your family. We need to consider three months after the pandemic making sure people have all the safety nets we can put in place

Emily Chatelain, Three O’ Clock Project: Korey are you seeing anything from that level being pushed for local foods? Dollars to be spent to support local farmers and our local economy?

KP: I don’t have great insight on that but can certainly circle back.

Reginald Johnson: I get referrals from Unite Us, the online portal to SVDP, for food from various times. Most come from Humana healthcare workers and other insurance companies where the client would come in and say I don’t have any food/food stamps so they’ll put it in the Unite Us platform and then we’ll get a box of food for them. Are you guys connected through that platform where you get more referrals? They also do financial and job assistance

Katie Pritchett: United Way is definitely engaged with Unite US! John Hutson, our staff member in charge of our 211 resource line, is the lead for that with us. On a statewide level the United Ways are figuring out the best way to leverage Unite Us to help connect more service providers and people through that system. I don’t know that we’ve talked about that specifically in the FIC, but it’s a great tool. We have talked about getting more food pantries and referrals involved in the coalition. Great way to lend to the coalition what are your needs, what are you seeing in terms of people requesting food...How can we supplement what a lot of food pantries are already doing...We know a lot of food pantries have way more requests for that resource or are only able to provide non perishable food items. One of the goals of subgroup B is how do we supplement those with fresh food or fresh food resources?

Jan Ross: As we have seen with advances in science, there is greater and greater need and awareness in the healthcare community. In serving the patient for medical reasons, it doesn’t end there, there’s need for serving the whole patient. With that recognition, there’s needs in connecting the healthcare system to outside services and that’s how Unite Us came about. 211 has been a huge resource for those in the healthcare system that recognize when patients are discharged they might not have everything they need to remain healthy. Baton Rouge General is working on creating capacity to ensure that when patients are discharged, they are connecting with services out in the community. As Reginald has brought attention to Unite Us, you may see it more and more as we go forward because there is more recognition of serving the whole patient and recognizing it will take connection within the community to help with doing that

Tre Nelson: We did realize that there are specific patient populations that are doubled down on expenses and barriers, specifically transportation and copays. We started realizing that certain populations in the community who have different treatments that are recurring, some of those same patients are the ones who pay the most in copays. They also are running into issues with transportation. We are leveraging more options, working with Lyft Health Care...Really focusing on how to drop those copays so people aren’t coming out of these treatments paying more money that they don’t have

Manny Patole: I know many folks are probably wondering how you can participate, and I know many people on this call and in all these coalitions, this is maybe your 4th, 5th, 10th job on top of everything else you're getting paid for. As we’re moving forward, some of our short term goals specifically with Group B is to make these connections with those groups in this sphere and understand what they’re doing, how we can fill those gaps specifically with faith- and community-based organizations, the medical community, BREC and recreational groups, schools, grocery stores. We want to understand what have been your issues, how can we work with you. If there are certain topics within the FIC that you are really passionate about, we’re developing action groups to deal with some of these items

Reverend Anderson: Hope Ministries used to have a client selection of food banks but there are families that have cultural diet norms as well as individuals with specialty medical need diets and allergies, my question was in this new situation we find ourselves in, how are those families being identified and serviced? Kelli Rogers, Healthy BR: Having run the Hope Ministries food pantry for a while, it is a client choice model. We did have screening questions about allergies and preferences. The community members could make their selections. We did try to provide nutrition education...there’s an onsite garden there that Baton Roots runs, trying to meet all of those needs. A lot of the food pantries are stocked with food that’s not necessarily the most nutritious and may not meet cultural requirements

Pat LeDuff: Experienced a food trolley at Harvest Grocery Store in Missouri City, TX...The grocery store actually has a trolley, fills it, delivers your order or you can go out like an ice cream truck and purchase what you want. Has anybody seen anything like that or is anyone working on something like that? I think a partnership like that in Scotlandville to convince people to buy and give extension to food access.

Casey Phillips: We’ve definitely looked into the idea of a community food truck in the FIC Gwen Hamilton: Mobile food units have never been brought to fruition. I think Healthy BR has information on attempts on doing that, Main Street Market tried to address the issue by bringing the market into the various communities so that families could purchase fresh foods. But I’m not aware that I’ve seen anything like Pat just described Alfredo Cruz: I grew up in Nicaragua and that’s all we had - they’re very common in Latin America and the Caribbean. I think in this country it’s a policy barrier, regulatory issues

Kelli Rogers: We have found it is a heavy lift with a lot of regulatory barriers/ It’s a whole different conversation if you can get a grocery store to be responsible for that type of distribution, it's a whole other thing from starting it from scratch Casey Phillips: That’s why with the FIC we have the data and policy group so they know what to go after when policy gets in the way

Coalition Announcements

Rinaldi Jacobs: Group of us working with Pennington and SU Ag Center communicating with Manny and the FIC group, we’re actually working on using AI to help people with food nutrition to treat food as medicine. We take it very seriously because what we put in matters. Also, I met with some teachers at Scotlandville High School that want to start a community garden if somebody could put in the chat who they could reach out to I’d be appreciative

Casey Phillips: I have such a direct answer for you because out of the partnership of Geaux Get Healthy, they actually brokered for Baton Roots to do the community garden program at Scotlandville as well as Capital High and Glen Oaks. Mitchell and Shivonne will be your point of contact for Hustle and Grow as well and we’ll be building out those beds at Scotlandville now that they’ve got their COVID protocols in place

Reverend Anderson: Huge shoutout to OneRouge and CAUW, some of you may remember a few months ago the EBR Prison Reform Coalition partnered with UW about the stimulus checks and helping incarcerated families. Our UW has stepped up in a most amazing way, they, particularly Dolores Hearst and her team with VITA, were able to think outside of the box. I wanted to remind people, people who go to a local jail are still part of the community...Solutions have to be community based, cannot be siloed to exclude people. I was so thrilled with the way they improved on something they had already mastered

Katie Pritchett: Our VITA sites are open. We have volunteers who are trained and IRS certified to do taxes for free for low income. We do not turn people away, if they come to us slightly above the limit with a basic return we will still do that return. You can visit our site or call 211 and they have the direct link to appointment scheduling for the zip nearest. We also have an online option for people not comfortable going in person with plexiglass ad PPE for in person meetings. Great way for individuals who struggle paycheck to paycheck to get their taxes done. We have plenty of capacity still! LSU, SU, a lot of community centers either have mobile or permanent sites. We’re in 8 of the10 parishes.

Myfreetaxes is another source - just like HR Block but it’s free.

New this year we’re also piloting where they can upload all their tax info and one of our volunteers does it virtually

Alfredo Cruz: Looking for partners to host or participate in focus group/ community conversations about housing and affordable housing needs to inform our EBR Parish housing study. Email me at

Rodneyna Hart, Louisiana State Museum: I want to change the way that people interact with museums, especially as a state museum. This space is for you, we are funded by your tax dollars, we are open because you exist. I would love to bring in people who have never been to museums before. A lot of that is going to be a change of conversation of bringing in the right topple to let us know how we need to change the dialogue and reach the larger community.

The exhibitions we are pursuing, Smithsonian’s Negro Motorist Green Book exhibition, we are hoping that we are showing that that is a priority. This is not lifesaving work but its quality of life saving work

There’s a larger impact that we can make within the community that I would love to start conversations about not just being a place to visit but also being a resource.

[In response to COVID-19 protocol], we sanitize every hour on the hour. We also have a company that comes in and sanitizes common areas. It’s very easy to social distance and is completely hands off. Masks are required in the building.

Zoom Chat

08:38:38 From jennifer carwile to Everyone : if one wanted to get involved with the food insecurity coalition, how would one do that?

08:39:54 From Manny Patole to Everyone : @Jennifer, we will communicate that shortly

08:48:57 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Gary thank you for participating in our Power Coalition candidate forum last night. Please speak to your goals as a congressman for addressing our challenges as leader in mass incarceration and over policing.

08:49:27 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : great approach!

08:52:08 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : I see you Mr. Goodwin

08:54:02 From Manny Patole to Everyone : +1 Elizabeth, I think part of communication is the Customer Experience/User Experience of those seeking healthcare.

08:54:37 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Need to understand how to make that experience more inviting/comforting and easier.

08:55:50 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Gary, the tracking of health disparities is particularly difficult in private health care system such as Louisiana has. Do you have any plans to require standardized data reporting as a requirement to receive federal funding?

08:56:05 From christopherspalatin to Everyone : How do we get more Democrats elected to office, up and down the ballot? What are your plans to GOTV with the traditional base, and what economic messaging can we use to persuade more conservative voters who might not agree with progressive cultural issues but might be on board with things like $15 min wage and marijuana legalization?

08:57:11 From Reginald Brown-Gardere & SVdP to Everyone : Free home-delivered frozen meal and snack boxes to all children within the parish for the duration of the spring school semester. Households that are interested in receiving these free meals just need to complete the short enrollment form and Focus Foods will deliver these meals directly to their home.

08:57:52 From Georquel Goodwin to Everyone : Thanks for sharing Reginald

09:00:02 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Louisiana is actually under a consent degree for under resourcing of behavioral health services statewide, but particularly in the rural areas. What are your priorities for getting federal help to meet these human capital infrastructure needs?

09:04:51 From Emily Chatelain to Everyone : Positive news, USDA is issuing additional funding to all school meal programs and meal sponsors who have lost funds, to feed students. LDOE is still working out the details but additional funding is planned and coming from fed government

09:07:03 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Chris I see your question and Rev Anderson your additional questions will address at the end of the convo on food insecurity and health equity

09:13:11 From Tristi Charpentier to Everyone : Unite Us:

09:13:15 From Gwendolyn Hamilton to Everyone : Thanks Emily, we should spend more time on action planning and data around the root causes of why families are not participating so we can increase the number of children served more efficiently, effectively and expediently.

09:14:01 From christopherspalatin to Everyone : I think a lot of families like this don’t know what the efforts are.

09:15:38 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : How are families with special food needs and cultural unique diets are being served?

09:16:27 From Katie Pritchett, United Way to Everyone : If you are interested in joining FIC or just want to be part of the solution, please fill out our survey about your organization and how we can partner:

09:16:28 From Emily Chatelain to Everyone : Rev Anderson - school systems are required to continue to meet dietary needs to the extent that they can; it is a USDA requirement

09:17:49 From Elizabeth Perry to Everyone : 211 is a fantastic resource that we use daily.

09:18:25 From Rinaldi to Everyone : there is a group of us Working on grants for food as medicine

09:18:34 From Manny Patole to Everyone : @Rev. Anderson, are you referring to religions-specific diets ?

09:18:54 From Pam Wall to Everyone : Just a reminder. BREC has 175 parks......they have and will continue, I believe, to welcome ways to distribute food.

09:19:40 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : That category as well but also those with allergies, too

09:19:50 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Does EBR have Via?

09:20:05 From Manny Patole to Everyone :

09:20:56 From Emily Chatelain to Everyone : BREC has been amazing re food distribution. This summer they spent funds on signs, a commercial and walked the streets in their neighborhoods to spread the word of where to get food

09:21:54 From Tristi Charpentier to Everyone : @Rinaldi - Have you connected with the group in New Orleans that does Prescriptions for fresh food?

09:22:08 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Gary wanted me to share how to get in touch with him to continue the dialogue: Laticia King (

09:22:18 From Katie Pritchett, United Way to Everyone : FIC has discussed that issue. We have not yet settled on a solution though. Happy to continue that dialogue as needed.

09:23:42 From Elizabeth Perry to Everyone : YES!!! Great to hear Rinaldi.

09:24:18 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : That's awesome!

09:24:21 From Reginald Brown-Gardere & SVdP to Everyone : Please update the BR Community Garden website, the map only had a few locations.

09:25:05 From Emily Chatelain to Everyone : there are school garden grants as well, this person could apply for to get funds to help with supplies - may need to go through EBR food department

09:25:51 From WELCH, KELLY S to Everyone : ***Calling all Baton Rouge business owners - For local suppliers with an emphasis on diverse businesses interested in working with ExxonMobil or with one of its major contractor firms, we invite you to tune in to our Baton Rouge Supplier Forum scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 17.

If approved, the $240+ million Refinery investment has significant potential to boost our economy and direct critical spending dollars towards locally-owned businesses with a focus on minority and Black-owned businesses in the Baton Rouge area.

To RSVP, please email Please share with those who may be interested! Thank you!

09:26:21 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Rinaldi, for the garden program at Scotlandville High (

09:28:08 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Make sure winterize

09:28:09 From Rodneyna -Capitol Park Museum to Everyone : HI all, Rodneyna here, would to engage with everyone in work towards the Smithsonian's Negro Motorist Green Book exhibition that we are brining in.

09:28:17 From Rodneyna -Capitol Park Museum to Everyone : reach out at

09:28:18 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Check windows, insulate water pipes

09:28:33 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Of course. My email is Please email me so we connect.

09:28:50 From Manny Patole to Everyone : FYI:

09:28:51 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : YES Casey / very imperative that we look out for each other

09:29:30 From christopherspalatin to Everyone : Great seeing everyone! Thanks Casey

09:29:46 From Rinaldi to Everyone : on the Green Book Brian Washington is the new NBR historical guy. Casey could we post his email

09:29:51 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Is it going to be recorded?

09:30:11 From Jan Ross - HAWF to Everyone :

09:30:22 From Rodneyna -Capitol Park Museum to Everyone : @rinaldi yes, we are reaching out to him. Thank you!

09:30:59 From Jan Ross - HAWF to Everyone : The Wilson Foundation has a grant cycle with a due date of Friday, Feb 26. If you have any questions please reach out - 292-1344.

09:31:38 From Kevin Guitterrez to Everyone : Appreciate the perspective and work of everyone here...such an awesome community!

09:31:51 From Nikesha Rodrigue to Everyone : I am interested someone speaking to our staff about the real needs of the community. I think that sometimes "corporate" organizations tend to base their perception of what the community needs on statistics, or sometimes only what they read in a article. We need to take a deep dive in educating our employees, providers, etc. Sometimes I feel Corporate America is so out of touch with the real needs! Corporate webinars are not the answer. I would like to host possibly a lunch and learn with a few organizations to discuss the SDOH and really educate those caring for our community. My contact is Nikesha Rodrigue, Aetna Better Health of Louisiana or 2253265559. Thanks!

09:31:53 From Jen Tewell (she/her) to Everyone : Thanks everyone - hopping to the next meeting.

09:32:18 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Katie do you have posters and flyers available yet?

09:32:33 From Alfredo Cruz to Everyone : Looking for partners to host or participate in focus group/ community conversations about housing and affordable housing needs. Email me at To inform our EBR Parish housing study. THanks!

09:33:05 From Reginald Brown-Gardere & SVdP to Everyone :

09:33:40 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Awesome Mr. Brown!

09:35:12 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Alfredo, I am here to help on the focus group work. Let’s coordinate

09:35:24 From Manny Patole to Everyone : I am heading out to my next meeting

09:35:40 From Katie Pritchett, United Way to Everyone :

09:35:41 From Manny Patole to Everyone : Thank you all for an inspiring Friday as always.

09:35:48 From Janel Washington to Everyone : Have a great weekend everyone!

09:35:50 From Rodneyna -Capitol Park Museum to Everyone : Thank you everyone

09:36:23 From Nikesha Rodrigue to Everyone : Thanks everyone! Casey this is awesome! Thank you.

09:36:52 From Katie Pritchett, United Way to Everyone : That sounds awesome!

09:37:04 From Tristi Charpentier to Everyone : That's a great idea!

09:37:17 From Nikesha Rodrigue to Everyone : Hi Pat, do you have a contact for the Trolley?

09:38:29 From Alfredo Cruz to Everyone : I'm from Nicaragua. that's common in Latin America and the Caribbean. In the U.S. it's a policy barrier, but they're all over Miami (Florida) where I grew up.

09:41:39 From jennifer carwile to Everyone : thanks for everyone's work on this issue!

09:41:40 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : file:///var/mobile/Library/SMS/Attachments/63/03/5EA0E4D3-6A70-4B58-9247-ACE8F57DFB73/IMG_2856.heic

09:41:44 From Katie Pritchett, United Way to Everyone : UW's grant deadline for ALICE Financial Assistance grants is Monday!

09:42:53 From Tristi Charpentier to Everyone :

09:42:57 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Double masks, social distance and stay home with those you live with, if possible?

09:43:50 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : I love that idea!

09:45:26 From Lindi Spalatin to Everyone : I took my family to the Capitol Park museum a few weekend ago and it was fabulous. If you haven't been there in a while I would suggest going. It was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.

09:46:21 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : my grandbabies love that place !! it’s beautiful and very educational

09:47:37 From Troy James to Everyone : Thanks Everyone! Great Call!

09:48:25 From Leslie Gilliland to Everyone : thank you!

09:48:36 From Rodneyna -Capitol Park Museum to Everyone :


'The Louisiana Prison Industry, Part II'

Meeting Notes Prepared by Zoe Haddad (Walls Project)

Recap of "The Louisiana Prison Industry, Part I" discussion:

  • Spoke to the Wilson Foundation’s prison reentry initiative that started in 2016. HAWF committed to investing $3 million over 3 years to reduce recidivism rate and the cost to the community due to successful reintegration. In 2017 the legislature passed the Justice Reinvestment package of ten bills approved to save millions for the state. By the end of 2018, Louisiana dropped the number of those incarcerated to 32,000 compared to 40,000 when we started, with savings of $29 million over those 2 years. However, we are still #1 in incarceration rates in the world.

  • Reverend Anderson joined the conversation and spoke to mass incarceration being the largest industry in LA, that crime is rampant here and not a day goes by when EBR is not on the front page locally and internationally. She posed the question: how do we keep human capital out of the system? Prevention works better than restoration. It takes less than 24 hours of incarceration for a person to begin losing the assets that they might have spent a lifetime building. The system feeds on the poor, those struggling with substance abuse and mental health. Less than 10% of the people coming in to jail get their time in court, often pleading guilty just to get out of jail. We need to think differently about this - how do we address this? Take the hat off of law enforcement and put it on the community.

  • In previous presentations that I have seen through Hillar, they are doing quite a bit of interagency collaboration with the sheriff's office, police, as well as victims and offenders using data to identify patterns of abuse and working from that angle. Also working with the jails to process people more quickly and working with TRUCE to address the youth and provide a safer environment for them to live and build productive lives

  • To Hillar and Warden: what are the facts of all the news reports we are hearing and what can be done? As you are working more collaboratively, what can these groups here do collectively to address this?

  • Starting with 2020, obviously we had a pretty bad year - 118 homicides, 19 of which were domestic violence

  • Mimicked the year after the flood (2016) where we predicted we’d have the social disorganization that we see now (103 homicides in that year, 14 of which were domestic violence homicides)

  • In January we had 17 uniform crime report homicides plus 2 domestic violence related homicides

  • Goes unnoticed a lot, but people addicted to drugs, it does come back if you don’t treat it correctly. Last year we had 240 heroin/opioid overdose deaths. We always look at the murder rate but if you look to that rate (120 the year before, we doubled), we really have to be mindful

  • In 2021 we’re not positive yet what to do.

  • The Chief and Mayor are doing a very good job of community outreach as we have never done before

  • COVID has really affected how we do things

  • Bringing back to the jail population, it’s obviously better to prevent than come back and be rehabilitated again

  • We met with LSU professors earlier this year looking at who's the victim and defendant in just homicide cases - we can’t really look at 2020, so let's look at 2019. Looking at the parents and the folks that we work with, I’d like to study what is their educational background? Can we find out through triage where did the system fail? Where’d they get out of the school system? To me it seems like education drives everything, the way our public school system goes is how our city will go

  • There are a lot of schools popping up that are privately funded but still our public school system is crucial - getting to those young kids early, talking about prevention, talking about people not going to jail

  • Would like to see if we can get an honest look at where these people come from, did the system failed somewhere, how can we do a better job to serve them? That’s part of being a citizen, we owe them that type of education

  • Gwen [Hamilton] has studied truancy rates, the truancy rates are horrendous. If they’re not in school, they’re not getting breakfast or lunch because most of them are below the poverty line. And they have good reasons for not coming to school, shots fired all night long, mom or dad not there to help, no food, having to help raise siblings, etc.

  • Talked about collaboration - we also work with the public defenders. Mike Mitchel (just left the public defenders here to take another job) has worked as the public defender or assistant public defender for around 28 years. We enjoyed our relationship with Mike and applying for grants together to get work done because although we may face each other in court, the bottom line is people. The volume is so great - we'd love to see less people incarcerated. Can we stop that? Can we look at the education component? Why are people being arrested, why are they going to jail?

  • For people that are in jail - Halved the Jail Population booklet. Last year we tried for 8 weeks to see if we could speed up the process of folks that are getting booked in the jail. How can we identify those that needed to get out early, didn’t have to wait to get a report for them to see a judge. For those 8 weeks, extremely painful for all those involved because we’re really not set up for it but were able to half the jail population by getting those people in court within 24/48 hours by identifying those who were only in jail because of money and that worked out very well, although we weren’t set up for it and it caused the court a lot of disruption

  • We applied for a grant that we thought we were going to get, we had already gotten the authorization from the Supreme Court to have one judge set as magistrate all day 7 days a week to see everybody very quickly to identify those that should stay in jail because of public safety and those that are not a public safety risk but we didn’t receive that grant. We believe we can apply again, we have a judge already approved, we have public defenders and DAs and counselors to have them risk assessed, get them the help they need, help those with jobs to keep their jobs

  • Coincidentally we are meeting today with Judge Crifasi - he wants to start that process again in a different fashion. Beginning Monday instead of having call out 7 or 8 am it will move to 1 pm, giving more time to get information to the judge regarding who can be safely released, have charges dismissed, etc. May begin that process in October/November/December. Not all judges are on board yet, but we started Monday as a trial run. We hope the judges see the benefit we think we’re going to see

  • Juries having been tougher, we only had 6 juries last year, getting backed up with the number of murders we have to try (138 total)

  • Trying to do different things as we move along, would like input from everybody

  • A lot of people in jail who should be out quicker and money shouldn’t stand in the way of that

  • I think it gets oversimplified a lot when people say, “You’re just housing folks in jail that shouldn’t be there”...I wish you guys could see some of the probable causes and records and things we see in the background, saying this guy is dangerous, he’s out on 2, 3,’s difficult making that determination. But again, money should not determine who stays and who shouldn’t, it should be public risk

  • We also published this paper called "The New Normal". We are trying to work remotely while also getting our cases through the system so the best thing for us is if the defendant receives benefits, generally the victim of the defendant is a family member or relative or somebody they know we’re much better off if they get help, drug or alcohol problem or mental health, let’s get them help, let’s move along as fast as we can

  • One thing we’re seeing right now is about 1,800 cases a year where young kids are caught with guns and drugs. When you listen to these young men they’re saying they need it just in case for protection. And that’s probably true in a lot of areas where these young men live, but it is a gun case. What do you do as a DA when someone has a gun and cocaine on their person? We’re going to try to mimic the things we learned from Trey, can we set up a program with mentors and a learning experience for these young men, get them the right training so they don’t reoffend with a gun and make the community safer? It’s easier said than done because what if you take a chance to dismiss that charge, guy comes back and kills someone? You want the kids to earn that second chance and make the best decision they can.

  • With the TRUCE Center, because we've had so many murders, Executive Director Aishala Burgess is asking kids 10-21 to submit a 1-3 min video explaining how gun violence affects them, when you live in that zip code that gets mentioned more than others which is unfair to the vast majority of people there. The #stoptheviolence challenge can be submitted by February 28, judging in March where top three winners will get a prize

  • Take all of those videos and put them in the community

  • If you are a mentor or have something you can devote to the TRUCE kids, they’re a little different from the body of people working with 100 Black Men

  • Trying to find those that are potential trigger pullers or those likely to be killed

  • We really need specialized help for these kids

  • When you sit there and talk to them you find out how valuable, bright they are

  • If we could find them that new alternative, that new way, if anyone can assist with that

  • We know and get information about who is speaking with who, who may shoot each other next

  • We do what’s called custom notification with Chief Paul and the sheriff, we like to knock on that person’s door with police safely, and say we understand you are beefing with so and so and there may be violence in the future, how can we help you prevent that from happening? Are any of you willing to come help, say I’m part of this community, I’m behind this, what can we do to help you put that gun down?

  • Often not greeted very well by those who may be victims, but we make the effort to let them, their grandmother, mother know if they don’t want to listen to us

  • That does seem to work in a lot of cases

  • Looks like a lot of people on this call would serve well as mentors as well as coming with us on those pop up moments that are fairly quick notice

  • We’re here not to just be a traditional prosecutor but to to try to help, listen as much as we can

  • I really think that as a community historically we are failing people at a young age, families and neighborhoods have to do their part but we are failing them in education to make sure they stay in line first

  • We fail at the beginning and at the end - those that have been incarcerated do their time and leave but I don’t think we adequately serve them to not come back again

  • Education should be the first

  • Police, prosecutors and judges have legislative been tasked to fix drugs and mental health and we’re not equipped for that

Lieutenant Dennis Grimes (Warden EBR Parish Prison) DGrimes@EBRSO.ORG

  • What we’re starting to experience now, mostly in our jail population we aren’t having issues with COVID, it’s mostly our arrestees and having to deal with those coming that have tested positive

  • Majority that have come in already have a notification that they tested positive

  • Make sure to have them isolated

  • We are working on trying to bring some of our programs back to the jail on Zoom, trying to get TVs set up

  • As the courts have moved to mostly Zoom, very few are going downtown for court

  • Enhancing that even more making it even broader, all except jury trials

  • Our population is tremendously down now - we try to keep it under 1,000 to promote social distancing with inmates washing their hands and wearing masks

  • Majority of those we have to transfer out are being transferred to Department of Corrections

  • Working on vaccinating inmates who want to be vaccinated, currently the 70+ population (only two inmates here and only one wants to be vaccinated), the rest of them will be shipped to DOC

  • It is a challenge to vaccinate here at the jail because it’s a two shot deal

  • Hopefully they get this passed with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine because it’s just one shot so it’s easier

  • With the two shot, if someone bonds out after one shot you have to find them and get them that second shot, so hopefully we can get the one shot vaccine

  • What we’re looking out now is trying to ramp up the resources out there

  • Getting more individuals who are more violent and are homeless

  • Working to try to find placement for these individuals when they get out, to find housing, transportation, get them into that arena doing the things they are supposed to do and not have them coming back

  • Most of these guys getting ready to get out have nowhere to go, no family, we’ve worked diligently to find somewhere to place them, to get our partners back to get them help so they don’t return to prison

  • Biggest challenge with the majority right now, we have most of these individuals getting stimulus checks and it's a big thing to get everything lined up so individuals getting out receive their stimulus checks before leaving

  • Transportation and housing are the biggest thing we continue to fight with

  • We’re hoping to reconnect with our partners to get Zoom classes for our inmates

  • The prison was never designed or built to do the things it's doing right now but prisons are forced to do so because of the closure of all the mental health hospitals in 2012

  • Want to put resources in the prison - the local jail has been behind compared to the resources allocated to state prisons

  • Get the community more involved with the individuals coming inside, trying to put some resources and we’ve been working hard to get things done

  • People coming out trying to get Medicaid started, get Social Security stuff done, etc.

  • Jail has taken on that responsibility but we’re limited to what we can do

  • Looking for partners within the community to help out with the things these individuals need

  • We have BREC parks in every community in our parish. So what do we utilize the BREC park for? Is there a way to put resources in those BREC parks so people can get to them and utilize them...having resources downtown doesn’t help if you can’t get to them

Reverend Alexis Anderson (PREACH):

  • I want to pull back a little bit because my understanding with this discussion and the one we had in December, I started with a basic thesis: This is an economic model and in order to change the trajectory and reimagine public safety, we have to take the hat off and stop thinking of everything as being a law enforcement issue.

  • Last week we ended with a wonderful proverb about the three women who saw babies that had been thrown in the river and two of the women were trying to figure out what to do with the babies in the river and the third opted to go upstream and find out why they were throwing the babies in the river

  • I want us to start asking why we’re throwing the babies in the river, to put on a different hat and start thinking about this in terms of what is changing, why it’s changing and how we can make it change.

  • I can sum it up in three words: We the people.

  • I have a saying, that if you are not at the table you are on the menu

  • We have to take a step back and say - we have a system that criminalizes poverty, addiction issues, mental health, targets people of color and LGBTQ+

  • When you are wealthy the system looks completely different, when you are in a different category, if your zip code is different, crime looks different, how we name crime looks different

  • Look at January 6 - it took to the blinders off for anybody who does not understand that race and policing are a challenge in this country that is not addressed

  • When we the people continue to give up our collective power, nothing good happens

  • Typically what happens is we put our focus in one place - on January 6 we didn’t just have a terrorist attack on our capital. We also had an African American man and a Jewish man elected to the senate from what was previously a red state. That was powerful. There are powerful things going on that are not law enforcement centric. They are moving the needle in ways that are more powerful, more impactful, and quite frankly will take both the parish and the state to a place they’ve never been before

  • Look at the concept of ACT. - Accountability, Confrontation, Transparency

  • We have to accept that accountability is the first step in change

  • Two examples of what’s happening in Louisiana, specifically EBR making important strides:

  • The room is becoming bigger. Groups are coming in who have never been part of the decision making. VOTE is an organization created, led, and managed by formerly incarcerated people. This organization sat at the table for all of the reform work, made changes that have changed us as a state. Because of their work, hundreds of thousands of people have been re-enaged in the community and can now vote, and because of this organization the anonymous jury system was broken. VOTE’s ability to change the narrative is because they made room for themselves at the table. Look at the work of groups like the League of Women Voters - there are organization that are moving the needle that are not law enforcement

  • When we talk about school discipline, we need to talk about youth development, coaches, and counselors

  • Confrontation: We cannot change what we will not confront

  • We have over 100,000 outstanding in Baton Rouge City Court (misdemeanor court). We have over 300,000 warrants outstanding in the 19th JDC traffic court. There are things happening right now that are changing the narrative

  • EBR Prison Reform Coalition started a court watch program in a place that almost no other court watch program starts in: the traffic court at the 19th JDC

  • Because of that intersection with the court, with the people who work in that program, there are literally programs that have been created that the community is part of that engage groups like Southeast Legal Services, like the Justice and Accountability Center, that help people resolve these issues so that they are not caught up in this system

  • We also have to confront where taxpayer dollars are going and who they are going to

  • In education as Hillar mentioned it is important that we stop throwing the baby in the river. Expulsion is not a disciplinary tool. I was an HR manager for 20 years and I told managers all the time, once you’ve terminated somebody, you’ve ended the relationship. Expulsions end the relationship. We have to work not just on discipline but on our environmental racism issues. We have to address how many of our young people have lead in their blood. How many of those same young people who are coming out of our foster care systems that are coming out of our families...where are our systemic tools in our Department of Family Services, in different organizations that already exist outside of law enforcement. We have to take a step back and say are we funding those organizations correctly? What are we funding, things that change the paradigm or just recycling human beings in a system that has no good outcomes?

  • Who is being locked out of our system? We know it is primarily African American young men of color. In some ways 2020 is an outlier, but in some ways it is typical. We have always been at the top of the bar when it comes to domestic violence in EBR and LA, groups like the East Baton Rouge Prison Reform Coalition, Capital Area Family Justice Center, the Clerk of Court, the Office on Women's Policy, have gathered on a co-convening event that try to work on this program holistically

  • We can not talk about well meaning jobs if we have codified in law that people who come through this criminal justice system cannot get license, cannot get into the workforce

  • How do we get some of these things off the books and make this world restorative? Putting somebody in a cage is not restorative. What is restorative is taking some of these rules and regulations off the books at a state and municipal level, so that once people have done there time they can get back on track and get a good wage paying job that helps their family

  • School to prison pipeline - we cannot continue putting people who do not have a background or knowledge of the mental health, academic, physical stages of children in charge of how we mentor children, who sometimes make childlike mistakes!

  • We have a system here that treats an African American 17 year old child completely different from a 24 year old white male at LSU and we have to confront that issue

  • We have fines and fees that are debilitating low and working class families

  • We have to have that discussion about ending cash bail, ending bond monitoring fees, ending prohibitive probation and parole fees

  • We cannot continue to have a separate conversation as if the people paying them are the people locked up

  • As the Warden pointed out, there’s a disproportionate number of people who are homeless yet we have criminalized the housing problem that fully belongs in the housing realm, not the law enforcement realm

  • We have criminalized substance abuse instead of putting a system together, not for a 3 day detox or short term, but for an issue that the state of Louisiana is currently under a consent decree from the federal government because we don’t have enough providers

  • We also have to talk about context: where are all these traffic stops coming from? Why are they being picked? Let’s use the data, not just who is being arrested but where

  • Affidavits of probable cause: intersection of poverty - it is very easy to stop a car that has an expired inspection sticker or license plate because odds are that person is poor.

  • Can’t pay a traffic ticket, can’t come to court, etc.

  • We have to think about what we have to do with resources. With the issue of bail and bond, in Baton Rouge we have two phenomenal community bail funds, the Bail Project and the YWCA Community Fund

  • When I talk about we the people, we have to have transparency

  • Public servants work for us not the other way around

  • We’ve got to lift up the important work of having citizens engage from beginning to end, have citizens put in their input, show up at the pools, candidate forums, legislature, the metro council meetings, and more importantly we have to define the parameters of where we want this parish and this state to go

  • This is literally the largest industry in Louisiana and because of that, it is locking us out of opportunities, it is making some of our children vote with their feet, taking away our future, and we can and will do better

  • One of the things we say often at Metromorphosis is moment or movement: so very often we try to address these critical issues in our communities based on a momentary flash in the pan, something excites us, something aggravates us and we get riled up until the next moment happens

  • The things Reverend Anderson articulated require movements, sustained action over time

  • The issues at the heart of our predicament cannot be solved by programs alone - they are interrelated and tied to other realities in people’s lives and you can’t go in and address a single aspect of it

  • Think in terms of systemic change rather than what’s another program we can start, we will stay mired in these situations

  • These are systems and structures that require change - far too often we see young black boys as individual cases to be fixed rather than recognizing they are a part of an ecosystem, that they are living and thriving in an environment

  • To actually address the kind of issues that are at the heart of prison reform, reentry, and reducing recidivism requires collective action

  • There is no organization that is equipped to unravel these issues alone

  • They are all inextricably bound together and we are going to have to start thinking holistically and systemically or a year from now we will be having this conversation again

  • In regards to systemic change, we’ve identified issues in EBR parish prison that are not just issues here but also in prisons and jails statewide

  • We - the Mayor’s office, the EBR Prison Reform Coalition, Justice Accountability - are working on a movement independently as well as coming together comprehensively

  • However there are moments such as the deaths in the prisons sparking additional change that we have seen. The deaths are what we are attempting with EBR Prison Reform Medical task force to prevent by having those systemic changes

  • Establishing resources, support groups is great, however, without a call to action it’s going to be just another moment that we’re going to be talking about instead of creating a movement

  • Our call to action is to engage not just individuals on the phone but individuals who have been incarcerated and the families, establishing those resources and support groups, those post-conviction deficiencies that they have to have those individuals know we do not what to see you again

  • Establishing correctional help and resources for them

  • There is not one place that we can all come together. Judges, sheriff’s office, education, training, terminology...information helps but a lot of times individuals don’t make changes because they’re not privy to the information, to know there are people out there who can help

  • Reach out further and establish calls to action within your individual organizations

  • Spark change, don’t just talk about it

Renee Craft (Capital Area Family Justice Center)

  • All of these topics are also interwoven with the issues the survivors and victims that we’re serving are dealing with as well

  • I spent over an hour this week with a young lady who came in and we touched on everything from the reason why she came to a need for mental health, child care, equipment, education.

  • Glad to be included in this group and see again that all of these issues we are tackling here, if we tackle all those we can absolutely make an impact on the bigger issues impacting our prison population

Coalition Questions and Discussion

Casey Phillips: Do you think detainees with mental health issues should be detained in the EBR parish system and do you keep them safely monitored?

Hillar Moore: Hopefully the Bridge Center is opening up next week, the problem is when you get someone with mental health issues, oftentimes it’s the family member thats the victim, that person is easy to deal with, to divert to Bridge and not jail because that person knows the history and want to have a good night’s sleep to know the child’s not going to hurt them or someone else.The problem is if it’s someone else’s property and someone gets hurt, you have a victim on the other side it makes it a little more difficult.

To the Warden’s point, our prison is not set up to segregate those with mental health issues out of the regular prison population and that’s by design, we really need to look at a better design. Surely they should be hospitalized but when the hospitals are shut down where do you send them?

Warden Grimes: You look at the aspect of somebody calling the police because they have somebody at their home acting out, they haven't been on their medicine, whatever, we hope they’d take those people to the hospital but when they get there and that person hasn’t really done anything then the family member wants them out, they end up being at the prison and the prison is really not equipped to deal with those individuals. To me I think that trying to do all that we can with what we have through a private provider or city parish is trying to figure out with psychiatrists. I think the jail needs more psychiatrists and social workers in there because when you look at the people that come in, 1 out of 5 persons arrested is going on suicide watch. That’s tied up everybody in the situation, there’s some that may come in where it’s not really a suicide watch but we have to take every one of them seriously. It’s a challenge to deal with without having the resources. At the end of the day people are going to be in jail so we need to do something different than what we’re doing.

Reginald Johnson: I think when the government signed the Justice Reinvestment Act, we were having a discussion about requiring at least high set classes at the juvenile detention center and in the prison. Can you give me an update on whether or not we are doing that?

WG: We already have a high set program at the prison for males and females, at the juvenile center they have one they’re working on but we have not seen what’s supposed to be funded yet because ours is actually being done by the city through the EBR Department of Education.

RJ: Is it required or is it optional?

WG: Optional. Some of the judges require those under 17 to get a high set while they’re incarcerated.

Reverend Anderson: I wanted to thank Hillar, we are partnering on a couple things that are extremely valuable to me, including the 72 hour expedited arraignment. I was very excited to hear that process is going to at least in some form be reconstituted. One of the questions I have concerns data - one of the areas that’s a real challenge is the siloing of data. I just wanted to ask you if you could elaborate on whether or not there is additional work being done to resolve some of these big issues around multitudes of systems not talking to each other?

HM: Data has always been an issue in BR but we’re moving to a point now where we have not been able to receive grants in the past due to lack of data, now we’re kinda data rich. The problem now is developing programs to pull data items such as how many African Americans are arrested vs national averages. For the first time ever all the systems are working together with 365 Labs. It’s a brand new system so there’s lots of kinks we’re trying to work out but it will hopefully yield better data. Oftentimes in our own office we don’t know how much we have and we want to know as badly as you do. We’re desperately working on it but it does come with a cost and no one wants to give us money for data, they want to give us money for other things. So we’re trying to find that solution now.

RA: One of the issues we identified yesterday is the sheer issue of having people not identified by their identifying race. We do have a 287 G in effect in this parish, not being able to have those numbers expelly as it relates to immigrant populations. The state itself is under investigation because of calculations on the out dates for individuals. Very happy to know the work is moving forward

Casey Phillips: Let’s say, the Bridge Center is open. Who makes the call on whether someone’s going to the airport or the Bridge Center on Florida, what agency is doing that?

Hillar: First of all, the Bridge Center will not solve all of the problems immediately. The way I understand it is that the emergency rooms will be sending as many as they can to the Bridge Center, but they have to start slow to make sure things are safe and working. Give them time to get started. Each of the agencies, the sheriff and the police, have protocol in place for who they will take to Bridge vs. the prison depending on the crime itself, the history they know or don’t know about the defendant, and what they have in their systems. The idea is to lean towards taking as many to the Bridge without making it a dumping center. We also want to be careful about other agencies bringing their folks here.

Gwen Hamilton New Schools for Baton Rouge Thank you to all of the presenters. There are three words today, Jan Ross continuously keeps us focused on “collective” and “collaborative” and Reverend Jetson so very much said “systemic”. I believe as all of you know that education, starting at the earliest possible point, is the system that we know can help us reduce the prison population. It is systemic. On the Bridge Center, it took three times to get parish residents to pass the tax for the Bridge Center. At this point, it is very well researched and set up but is not going to solve the multitude of problems that have been presented today. But collectively we should support the Bridge Center and use the date that results from this endeavor to determine what the expansion looks like to help those in our parish with mental illness. Right now there are 16 beds I believe for addiction, 16 for mental health, and 16 for respite. Although the center is not open, there was a statistic the other day that there are over 100 people in the queue that are eligible for Bridge. We started this as a parish paying for it with parish taxes, let’s use that information and data to talk about how we build that system to address the issues brought forth today

Dean Andrews SU Dean of College of Business Building on what Gwen just said, I think we need to look at spending in the public sector as investments that are going to make society better. We want to attract jobs and individuals to BR but if they look at dysfunctional school systems, lack of public transportation, all these things more or less, how do we treat people who are in poverty and help get them out...It’s going to take more resources. Nobody wants to mention that, nobody wants to mention the word “TAX”, but we’re in a situation where you pay me now or pay me later and that later price is going to be much higher. If we can intervene in the beginning in terms of D and F schools, in terms of individuals who have been incarcerated initially for small crimes and we don’t want them to be educated in prison to commit large crimes. We as a society really need to think about how to improve the quality of life in Baton Rouge.

Pat LeDuff: I’m still concerned about the Bond system - I know Hillar did discuss it’s not financially attached but it is, because the money that’s being paid is being paid by family members not the person that’s actually in jail. So, being in housing, when we’re already dealing with families not doing cessations and trying to get them into the first time home, the property is so tied up because of the delay with the court system. The longer you’re in jail the longer the property is tied up because sometimes they put property up to get them out of jail and sometimes don't even have property put up. Basically if you have the money you can get out of jail. All of this is tied together. Also there was a conversation about the stimulus check, I want to hear a little bit more about that system and how that’s being done to make sure individuals get their money. Also I think we need to take another look at the function of our system, what is your idea of what the prison should be doing? What is that mission? Now that so many things have changed and we have a lack of resources, what is the new mission? What does your prison system look like ideally?

WG: Most inmate’s checks are actually being mailed here and put in their accounts here and the inmates decide what they want to do with it. Some are brought in by family members. Most of them use them to help them get out of prison, to pay their bond or help with the finances of the family. That is actually controlled by the inmate deciding what they want to do as far the stimulus check is concerned. What I look at with everything happening around us is trying to reimagine what we’re doing as a prison system. A local jail is always seen as a place where somebody comes and are in prison for a couple days, get bonded, get released by judges. Those times are long gone...inmates are staying longer than they were actually designed to do. As far as the prison system, we’re trying to flood these individuals with as much educational programming and resources to let them know what’s out there that can help them. Trying to partner with all of our partners to get information to our inmates whether it’s on monitors or on flyers to let them know these are the resources that are out there and here's how you access them. It’s not so much locking an inmate up, we’re trying to flood them with as much programming and resources as we can give as opposed to this lock and feed deal.

Casey Phillips: Ending thought - there’s the short, medium, long term work we can do together

Short: Hillar has put out an open call to gage and get involved starting right now, hitting the ground, bringing resources, mentorship and compassion to help alleviate crime

Medium: all the coalition work either directly around prison reform or wrap around services

Long: interconnected approach looking at all these systematic issues and creating an outcome of an over institutionalized populous, what’s causing that, getting down to the source. That’s what we can really do. We can work on those conditions in the community. It’s going to take a generation to undo this mess.

Tristi Charpentier HAWF

There was a question in the chat about businesses that hire the formerly incarcerated. While the LA Workforce Commission does have some businesses self-identified in their hire system, there’s still a stigma so a lot businesses don’t want to put it out there that they hire the formerly incarcerated. There are lots of nonprofits trying to find and implement solutions and have their own list. If you are interested in getting involved, I recommend the Christian Outlook Center, Goodwill Industries, and UpLIFTD. Employ BR has an internal list that they will also work with.

Community Announcements

Undesign the Redline Upcoming Webinar February 11 Open to all but faith-based leaders most encouraged. The AHA Office of Health Equity presents a framework for unearthing our most deep, systemic, and entangled crises. This interactive exhibit, workshop series and curriculum explore the history of structural racism and inequality, how these designs compounded each other from 1938 Redlining maps until today, and how WE can come together to undesign these systems with intentionality. Register here:

Together Baton Rouge Criminal Justice Action Team Meeting

Looking at bail reform, budget parody between the public defender and the district attorney, civilian oversight of the police department, and health issues

Anyone interested in joining the conversation, helping us with research or bringing your expertise to the table is welcome! Monday, February 8, 6:00-7:30 PM Register in advance for this meeting:

Zoom Chat

08:30:35 From Chelsea Morgan to Everyone : Thank you to everyone wearing red today! #GoRedForWomen

08:30:56 From Myra Richardson to Everyone : yes! #GoRedForWomen !!!

08:31:20 From Myra Richardson to Everyone : great background @adonica

08:31:35 From Shavon Knighten to Everyone : #GoRedForWomen #WearRedFriday <3

08:32:08 From Kelli Rogers to Everyone : There, Chelsea. That's better! #GoRedForWomen

08:39:52 From Donald Andrews to Everyone : The problem is poverty with one-third of our children growing up in poverty and the school in their neighborhoods being F and D schools what is the expectation.

08:41:19 From Gwen Hamilton to Everyone : Amen Amen! Education Education from birth.

08:42:34 From Ava Smith to Everyone : stop school to prison pipeline

08:43:21 From Ava Smith to Everyone : reduce bail amounts to no bail

08:44:26 From Jennifer Carwile to Everyone : what other sources of funding could fund this magisterial judge? money from the state? Local entities?

08:47:11 From Ava Smith to Everyone : rehabilitation not incarceration

08:49:21 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone : Yes, I am here...

08:49:46 From kaitlyn joshua to Everyone : where is that info located? or displayed.?

08:50:15 From Ava Smith to Everyone : along with investigating crimes preventing crime

08:50:36 From Chelsea Morgan to Everyone : Supportive Strategies for School Discipline is deeply needed - especially with students that are getting expelled and/or charged for tobacco/vaping use or substance abuse. They need supportive services like cessation. Resource for a good framework:

08:50:50 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone : Its on Truce_br Instagram or Trucebr Facebook. I can also email it the instructions, if you send me your email.

08:51:11 From Tracey Rizzuto to Everyone : Stop the Loss :

08:51:19 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : please include in chat

08:51:20 From Ava Smith to Everyone : VIPS volunteer in public schools

08:52:04 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone : If you would like to accompany on a custom, please email me at

08:52:13 From Jennifer Carwile to Everyone : how do people get involved in this beefing thing?

08:52:24 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone : Email me Jennifer

08:52:32 From Leslie Clay to Everyone : similar to interrupters in other cities.

08:53:03 From Shavon Knighten - AMIkids to Everyone : We at AMIkids Baton Rouge work with those kids with a troubled past. We believe they have the potential to achieve a bright future, and AMIkids Baton Rouge works every day to separate their troubled past from a bright future.

08:53:44 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Hey Sid Count me in - Pat LeDuff 225 964-7824

08:54:19 From kaitlyn joshua to Everyone : @aishala Kaitlyn Joshua

08:54:58 From Quentin Anthony Anderson to Everyone : Quentin Anthony Anderson -

08:55:38 From Orhan Mc Millan to Everyone :

08:56:07 From Sherie Thomas to Everyone : That is good news

08:56:09 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone : Thank you all so much...I will be in touch!

08:56:28 From Reginald Brown-Gardere & SVdP to Everyone : Reginald Brown,;

08:57:20 From Sherie Thomas to Everyone : Count me in! Sherie Thomas

08:59:38 From Ava Smith to Everyone : count me in Ava Smith, EBRPPRC,

09:00:33 From Leslie Clay to Everyone :

09:00:38 From Sharmayne Rutledge to Everyone : Sharmayne Rutledge

09:00:50 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone : Thank you all so much!

09:00:52 From Georquel Goodwin to Everyone :

09:00:59 From Jennifer Carwile to Everyone : Jennifer Carwile-

09:01:01 From Patrick Tuck to Everyone : hopping off. great work this morning.

09:01:07 From Susan’s iPhone to Everyone :

09:02:10 From kaitlyn joshua to Everyone : yessss! Rev. Anderson!

09:02:21 From Aishala Burgess to Everyone : Here is the information for the challenge:

09:03:04 From Tristi Charpentier to Everyone : Here's a longer version of the Three Women by the River:

09:03:33 From Orhan Mc Millan to Everyone : #IfYouAreNotAtTheTableYouAreOnTheMenu

09:04:31 From Ava Smith to Everyone : cultural sensitive training

09:04:54 From christopherspalatin to Everyone : Chris

09:06:54 From Janel Washington to Everyone : The Futures Fund offers our Coding Booting specifically(not exclusively) to the OSY population, as an opportunity to redirect their energy onto a path of success. Our Coding Bootcamp is not only a community, it is a pipeline, giving trainees access to CIW certifications, higher education, apprenticeships/internships, and job opportunities. For more information, please email me You can also find more information at

09:09:33 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : From DA Moore - “I will answer questions and send documents to Casey to to everyone. Thanks for he input. Hillar"

09:10:26 From Karla King to Everyone : Dr. Robert Sapolsky's book BEHAVE delves into the fact that the frontal cortex of the human brain is not fully developed until late 20's. This is the portion of our brain that governs LOGIC and REASONING. Our society expects teenagers and those in their 20's to act ADULT before this brain development is completed. They are held accountable in a system that immediately sets them up for failure/continued failure.

09:11:52 From Ava Smith to Everyone : It starts a home. Where are these grassroots? Are they knocking on doors?

09:13:47 From Chelsea Morgan to Everyone : Book Recommendation, released this week: THE COVERSATION: How Seeking and Speaking the Truth About Racism Can Radically Transform Individuals and Organizations

09:14:19 From Jen (she/her) - Baton Rouge to Everyone : Thank you! Have to jump off.

09:14:30 From Ava Smith to Everyone : Amen

09:15:32 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Good Job Rev Anderson !

09:15:48 From Kaitlyn Joshua to Everyone : Thank you Rev. Anderson!

09:15:57 From Shavon Knighten - AMIkids to Everyone : Thank you Rev. Anderson!

09:16:03 From Chevon C. to Everyone : That was amazing Rev. Anderson!

09:16:05 From Nicolette Gordon to Everyone : Great summation Rev. Anderson!!

09:16:20 From Quentin Anthony Anderson to Everyone : Thank you, Rev. Anderson! Been a fan for years!

09:16:23 From Jan Moller to Everyone : Thank you Rev. Anderson!

09:16:39 From Melissa Yarborough to Everyone : Yes, Rev. Anderson!

09:16:45 From christopherspalatin to Everyone : Always an inspiration Rev. Anderson!

09:16:51 From Dexter Jackson to Everyone : Thank you Rev. Anderson!

09:17:16 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Thank you Rev Jetson

09:18:22 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Say that!

09:18:36 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : Thank you

09:18:42 From Dexter Jackson to Everyone : Yes Mr. Jetson!!

09:20:06 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Well said THE Raymond Jetson

09:20:24 From Raymond A. Jetson to Everyone : Thank you Rev. Anderson for so powerfully articulating the depth and relatedness of these vital issues.

09:22:06 From Orhan Mc Millan to Everyone : an ecosystem. indeed raymond

09:27:21 From Renee Craft to Everyone : Renee Craft, Executive Director, Capital Area Family Justice Center (225) 239-7880

09:27:46 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : what do you see the mission of the Prison system now that things have changed -

09:29:11 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Reginald I see you sir, next

09:30:46 From Sherie Thomas to Everyone : Who gets to decide whether they go to jail or to The Bridge Center? How are they trained to make the decision?

09:32:51 From Lauren Hebert to Everyone : I have to hop off but this is a very rich conversation and so glad to be able to listen in.

09:34:32 From Jennifer Carwile to Everyone : SHerie- that is a great question- I would like to hear more about that process

09:35:51 From Donald Andrews to Everyone : It seems like a case of you can pay me now or pay me later, we have a lot of problems that need attention in the public sector, a better public transportation system, mental help social services, etc. It takes resources to solve these problems and we need to think of spending in the public sector as public investments in quality of life.

09:41:42 From Kelli Rogers to Everyone : Collective, Collaborative, Systemic!!

09:43:16 From Chelsea Morgan to Everyone : Undesign the Redline Upcoming Webinar - Feb. 11: Open to all but faith-based leaders most encouraged. The AHA Office of Health Equity presents a framework for unearthing our most deep, systemic, and entangled crises. This interactive exhibit, workshop series and curriculum explore the history of structural racism and inequality, how these designs compounded each other from 1938 Redlining maps until today, and how WE can come together to undesign these systems with intentionality.

09:43:25 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : 9 Drivers of Poverty

09:43:32 From Rinaldi to Everyone : how do we engage work force dollars and economic development as a solution once we use the F Word...Felony

09:43:35 From Casey Phillips to Everyone : Lack of educational attainment

Lack of homeownership and escalating rental costs

Access to affordable transportation

High number of households with children living in poverty

High poverty rates and low wages for single mothers

High teen birth rates

Growing number of neighborhoods in poverty

English proficiency and cultural differences

Healthy Food Access For All

09:45:56 From Rev Anderson to Everyone : I serve on the Louisiana Behavioral Health Advisory Board. The infrastructure issues around mental health since the breakdown of the charity system is huge.

09:46:31 From Tristi Charpentier to Everyone : @Rinaldi - The LA Workforce Commission has federal WIOA funding for individuals who have a record and/or have been incarcerated. EmployBR has all of the information on how to take advantage of this, as well as tax credits and other incentives for businesses who hire the formerly incarcerated.

09:48:36 From Jennifer Carwile to Everyone : TBR Criminal Justice Action Team meeting- Monday, Feb 8 6-7:30 You are invited to a Zoom meeting.

When: Feb 8, 2021 06:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada) Register in advance for this meeting:

09:49:32 From Sherie Thomas to Everyone : Is there any place that house a list of businesses that will hire previously incarcerated individuals

09:49:50 From Jennifer Carwile to Everyone : sherie, another great question!

09:51:04 From Reginald Brown-Gardere & SVdP to Everyone : CAPARC Capital Area ReEntry Coalition (CAPARC),- a list of businesses that will hire previously incarcerated individuals

09:51:23 From Pat LeDuff to Everyone : Sherie, that’s an awesome idea - we need that list

09:52:09 From SHERRETA HARRISON to Everyone : upliftd

09:52:33 From Sherie Thomas to Everyone : Thank you!

09:52:36 From Kelli Rogers to Everyone : Thanks everyone!

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