BASTROP, Louisiana. If you’re facing felony or misdemeanor charges, think twice before pleading guilty. According to the criminal defense lawyers at Ross Downs Law, even minor criminal charges can impact all areas of a person’s life—from job prospects to the right to vote. Many individuals who are facing criminal charges simply don’t know their rights. They may talk to police when they are not legally required to do so. They may plead guilty to charges, not aware that police have little valid evidence against them. The impact is broken families, job prospects marred by a criminal record, and the devastating effects of living in Louisiana jails.

According to the Times-Picayune, Louisiana incarcerates the greatest number of people—not just in the U.S., but in the world. There are five times more prisoners in Louisiana than there are prisoners in Iran. The nightmare for many prisoners begins with a criminal conviction. Many of Louisiana’s prisoners are housed in for-profit facilities. In these facilities, many of the sheriffs and guards are white, while the majority of inmates are people of color. In some communities, prisons provide jobs to middle class white communities that manufacturing jobs have abandoned. In some areas, the prisons need inmates to keep making money, and the criminal justice system is designed to keep the prison industrial complex in place. Individuals facing criminal charges are wise to seek the counsel of a criminal defense lawyer who understands the intricacies of the law and who can offer the best possible outcome for a person facing time in Louisiana’s jails.

For those who end up in jail, prospects are often bleak. A recent New York Times investigative report found widespread racism in New York State’s prisons. After thoroughly reviewing the prison’s internal reports, the Times found that black and Latino prisoners were disciplined sometimes twice as often as whites. In many cases, these prisoners were disciplined in instances where guards and officers had more discretion about the degree and the kind of discipline.

The bias in discipline has an immense impact on a prisoner’s life and prospects while behind bars. Those who have been disciplined are less likely to receive educational or therapeutic services while behind bars. They are also less likely to get parole. The system is set up in a way that allows inmates to have hearings regarding disciplinary matters, but inmates seldom win. The Times found that in only 4 percent of these “in-house” trials did inmates win.

The Bastrop, Louisiana criminal defense lawyers at Ross Downs understand that even a seemingly minor crime, like a DUI, can end with an individual facing jail time in a system that has been found to have serious issues. Individuals often have the best options before they are convicted. Once you are in jail, it can be difficult to fight for your rights or fight the injustices that inmates sometimes face. The Ross Downs criminal defense lawyers understand what is at stake for individuals facing criminal charges. We fight for justice and for your rights.