THE INFORMER: Hard labor sentences served in state prisons

Published 4:47 am Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Sometimes a criminal defendant is sentenced to hard labor. What actually constitutes hard labor, and what crime would warrant such a sentence? Are women defendants ever sentenced to hard labor?

Under Louisiana’s criminal code, certain felonies may be punishable with or without “hard labor.” Hard labor means serving extensive time ­— whether male or female — within the state’s Department of Corrections system as opposed to a parish jail.

A DOC sentence is often served within one of Louisiana’s state prisons, such as the Louisiana State Penitentiary — often referred to as “Angola” — or the Dixon Correctional Institute or Elayn Hunt Correctional Center.

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Louisiana has two main classifications of criminal offenses — felonies and misdemeanors.

Felonies are considered the most serious criminal offenses and are penalized with fines over $1,000 and more than one year of imprisonment. Examples of felonies include murder, treason, manslaughter and negligent or vehicular homicides.

Misdemeanors are considered to be less serious crimes and are punishable by fines, community service or a maximum of 6 months in jail. Misdemeanor offense sentences can also be served on probation, which allows an individual to remain free while under the supervision of the court.  If a sentence of incarceration is required, the individual will be confined in the local parish jail. Examples of misdemeanors include minor traffic violations, theft, simple battery, disturbing the peace, criminal mischief and simple assault.

A person convicted of a misdemeanor may have their record expunged after a period has passed without further convictions, and they have paid all fines and completed all community service sentences.

Certain felony convictions may also be expunged; however, eligible felony convictions require an individual to wait much longer than someone convicted of a misdemeanor.

Flu symptoms

What are the differences between Flu A and Flu B?

There are actually four types of influenza viruses: A, B, C, and D, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Influenza A and B are the two main types that routinely spread in humans and cause seasonal flu epidemics. Both are highly contagious, and their symptoms are similar.

Influenza A is the only type that can cause a pandemic, which is a global spread of disease. Bird flu and swine flu pandemics both resulted from influenza A viruses.

Influenza B viruses can also cause seasonal epidemics that typically only affect humans. Influenza B viruses mutate more slowly than influenza A viruses.

Influenza C viruses cause only mild respiratory infections and are not thought to be responsible for epidemics. Influenza D viruses mainly affect cattle and do not seem to infect humans.

Common symptoms of the flu are fatigue, nasal congestion, a cough, headaches, sore throat, body aches, chills, a fever and vomiting or diarrhea.

Informer is written by Crystal Stevenson, American Press executive editor. To ask a question, call 494-4098 and leave voice mail, or email