A Louisiana sheriff has sparked outrage after he lamented the scheduled release of nonviolent prisoners, using language that evoked slavery and the U.S.’s long history of imprisoning African Americans in order to serve as free or cheap labor. This is Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator.
Sheriff Steve Prator: “I don’t want state prisoners, OK? They are a necessary evil to keep the doors open, that we keep a few or keep some out there. And that’s the ones that you can work. That’s the ones that can pick up trash, the work release programs. But guess what. Those are the ones that they’re releasing. In addition to the bad ones—and I call these bad—in addition to them, they’re releasing some good ones that we use every day to wash cars, to change oil in our cars, to cook in the kitchen, to do all that, where we save money. Well, they’re going to let them out.”