A New Day Has Been Forced On OPP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is big news, on February 3, 2011, the New Orleans City Council voted 7-0 (unanimously!!) to limit the capacity of the new OPP to 1,438 beds and calls for the demolition/decommissioning of the old buildings.  The peanut gallery (City Council spectators) gave the Council a standing ovation for their courageous vote.

House of Dention, tall white building in center

House of Detention, tall white building in center

Here’s to the City of Council of New Orleans, who defied the King of the Jail, Marlin Guzman, who wanted to continue the practices of his long term predecessor, Charles Foti, who had a much bigger jail which generated a ton more money that the Sheriff controls.

Let’s name our stellar 2010 New Orleans City Council:  Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, Stacy Head, Jackie Clarkson, Jon Johnson, Arnie Fielkow, Susan Guidry, Kristin Gisleson Palmer. Kudos, Kudos, please take a bow!!!

Now let’s be honest about this big event. It’s groundbreaking, but it’s not the epic deal of the century, because Sheriff Guzman, have no doubt, isn’t going to sit still and be limited to this extent financially. He will take in so much less money under the City Council’s plan, it’s breathtaking.  Everyone knows to follow the money, it’s always about the money, and this deal is no different.  The City Council will control more money, and the Sheriff will control less.

The policies and practices of our police, prosecutor, courts, indigent defense and, of course, our jail are in extreme need of reform. Funds which would have been dedicated to building and maintaining a bigger jail must be reallocated to building the infrastructure of a caring community, including recreational, educational, mental health, and affordable housing facilities.

This all relates to my 150 Rule, a group of several posts concerning the need to reallocate resources. I’m still working on the bulk of those posts, which probably won’t get finished until after Carnival, now in full swing.

Guzman won’t give up a major share of his budget for support services out of his control. He’ll do everything in his power to prevent this outcome.

New Orleans City Council 2010

New Orleans City Council 2010; Cynthia Hedge-Morrell, Stacy Head, Jackie Clarkson, Jon Johnson, Arnie Fielkow, Susan Guidry, Kristin Gisleson Palmer

Here’s the email I received today from the The Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition, of which I’m a member:

Dear OPPRC Members and Supporters:

On February 3, 2011 we filled the New Orleans City Council Chamber to witness the Council’s vote on an ordinance that limits the capacity of the new Orleans Parish Prison to 1,438 beds and calls for the decommissioning and demolition of the old facilities. The Council passed the ordinance by a vote of 7-0. After the milestone vote, a standing ovation from the spectators in attendance underscored the extraordinary nature of the process.As you know, this exceptional civic effort began in July of 2010. More than anything, it was your advocacy and support that compelled the Council to vote for a smaller jail and positively influence the city’s future criminal justice policy. Thank you for speaking out in support of a smaller jail and for helping to make this remarkable outcome possible.

Although the passage of this ordinance represents a great victory, we must continue our efforts if we are to make New Orleans’ criminal justice system one that is truly fair and effective. The policies and practices of our police, prosecutor, courts, indigent defense and, of course, our jail are in dire need of reform. Funds which would have been dedicated to building and maintaining a bigger jail must be reallocated to building the infrastructure of a caring community, including recreational, educational, mental health, and affordable housing facilities.

We will be calling on you for your participation and support as the effort to bring these much needed changes continues.


In appreciation,

The Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition

OPP 4 bunk suite

OPP 4 bunk suite

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~ by neworleansmusicman on February 18, 2011.

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