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Thousands of People in Only One State have Been in Jail for Over a YEAR and Never Proven Guilty

Nearly half a million Americans are currently being held in jail while they are denied their constitutional right to a speedy trial. The problem has become so pervasive that many critics of the American judicial system are up in arms over the phenomenon. In Louisiana alone, there are over 2,000 people who have been languishing in jail for more than a year, all waiting for the chance to prove their innocence.

The Louisiana Sheriff’s Association was forced to clarify just how bad the problem is after its executive director, Mike Ranatza, overstated the number during a recent testimony on the issue. He clarified by breaking down the total number, and noting that of those 2,181 people:

  • 1,507 had been held between one and two years without a trial
  • 448 had been held between two and three years without a trial
  • 141 had been held between three and four years without a trial
  • 85 people had been held more than four years without a trial.

To many, the number may not seem that large. But to an inmate who may be innocent, having to sit in jail knowing he is innocent for—at times—more than four years without a trial, must be maddening. Worse still, it demonstrates the judicial system’s willingness to allow someone to be punished before being proven guilty in a court of law.



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