“What’s your biggest weakness,” was the first debate question for 8 Republican candidates for President one night. Someone could have answered for Louisiana’s Governor Bobby Jindal, because the answer is so obvious: Justice. When officials in Mississippi and Alabama have to stand back in awe of Louisiana’s medieval incarceration rate per 100,000 people — which is a stunning 1,420 — there are plenty of weaknesses related to the state’s “justice system” Jindal could chose from.
But problems in the state Jindal runs aren’t hard to chose from when you run the third poorest state in America while simultaneously telling people that universal health coverage is a bad thing. But Jindal is on it. Despite all the glittery resume and education decorations, the Governor of Louisiana still can’t figure out a way to bring justice to the cases of the late Glenn Ford and Albert Woodfox.
“It now is clear beyond all doubt that state judges in Louisiana, and a majority of the federal appellate judges who oversee that jurisdiction, are never going to let aging, ill, unconvicted Albert Woodfox spend a day of freedom no matter how dubious the capital case is against him,” writes Andrew Cohen for the Brennan Center for Justice on the Woodfox case. But Louisiana’s “strategy” is the same for Woodfox as it was for Ford which appears to be: Just wait ’til he dies so we don’t have to do anything.
No matter how dubious cases such as Woodfox are, Louisiana’s Governor has pretended they don’t exist. Remember: Jindal is someone attempting to win a job full of hard decisions, and he can’t even face them in a small state much less for the entire nation. One would think that the case of Ford, for reasons of pure embarrassment alone, would have moved any Governor to action. But this is Bobby Jindal we’re talking about.
Louisiana’s Governor loves to remind debate audiences how “communist” his various opponents are. But what could be more cold war than a prisoner being in solitary confinement for 43 years as Albert Woodfox has? It’s amazing Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un haven’t used Woodfox’s case as an example of U.S. human rights hypocrisy.
Jindal is too busy getting less than 2 percent in polls, in what is certain to be a failed run for the White House, to care about issues in his own state. Lately even Republicans have had enough. Glenn Ford spent 30 years on death row for murder even though he had murdered no one. He received no compensation from Louisiana and died after a battle with cancer at age 65 in June. Ford passed away with no money, and even after appeals to the state for compensation for his family, Jindal has said nothing. Ford applied for the maximum amount of compensation for Louisiana’s epic f up: $330,000.
Louisiana currently has serious budget problems. That’s what happens when you spend tax money locking up people for low level offenses at $30,000 per person, and in the case of Ford, locking up the wrong person to the tune of $1 million. Is this the new, young, hyper educated politician everyone talks so much about? Is this the GOP for the new millennium? No. This is just Bobby Jindal’s Louisiana.