A federal accident report released this month blamed Black Elk and its contractors for the deaths of three Filipino workers. The report said the contractors communicated poorly about when it was safe to perform “hot work,” and failed to follow their own safety procedures.

In one particularly damning section of the report, investigators said gas detectors were not functioning, and when employees complained, their supervisor told them not to worry and to hang the broken devices as “decoration.”

Operators and owners of the massive underground salt caverns carved from the Napoleonville Dome in Assumption Parish have under-reported their facilities’ assessed values by hundreds of millions of dollars annually, the parish assessor said Thursday.

Monthly charges to private-probation companies are just one of a growing array of fees levied by America’s criminal-justice system. Such fees are distinct from fines, imposed to punish or deter. Their aim is to make wrongdoers cover some of the costs of the system that punishes them. …

For example, a 2010 report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) found that fees and fines covered two-thirds of the operating budget of the Orleans Parish criminal court in Louisiana. 

Mark Moseley

Mark Moseley blogs at Your Right Hand Thief. Until mid 2014, Mark Moseley was The Lens' opinion writer, engagement specialist and coordinator for the Charter Schools Reporting Corps. After Katrina and...