Physical and Mental Health

Filed - February 20, 2018

Tellis v. LeBlanc

A federal class action lawsuit has been filed against the Louisiana Department of Corrections and David Wade Correctional Center (DWCC) for subjecting prisoners to cruel, debilitating conditions, including severe punishment for mentally ill and suicidal prisoners.

DWCC houses hundreds of prisoners in “extended lockdown” cells for months on end. This confines an individual in a cell for 23-24 hours per day with little to no human contact. DWCC policy forbids any interaction between prisoners and, due to the layout of the facility, prisoners cannot even see into the other cells. The prolonged confinement and sensory deprivation causes and exacerbates serious mental illness.

Extended lockdown is a cruel, inhumane punishment in which men are deprived of human contact, the outdoors, speaking with their families or even a regular shower. The Department of Corrections sends men to these horrible conditions without any consideration for their mental or physical health.

Case Developments

  • Federal lawsuit filed in response to DOC — 

    DWCC deliberately impeding federally-mandated investigation allegations of neglect and abuse.


    The MacArthur Justice Center of New Orleans and the Advocacy Center of Louisiana are designated as the statewide protection and advocacy system for individuals with disabilities. The state Department of Corrections and David Wade Correctional Center obstructed the federally-mandated investigation, including severely limiting access to the facility, prohibiting contact with inmates who cried out for help, and now allowing any private conversations or documents passed between attorney and inmate.

    The lawsuit asked for a temporary restraining order to fulfill its mandate, enforcing full access to carry out the investigation and speak with prisoners, including access to provide information and receive documentation.

    July 20, 2017