As Jail Census Drops, What is Gusman Doing for Money?

Gusman Money Trail Update!!  He has closed the HOD aka House of Detention, a relatively big success for the people of New Orleans and the unlucky tourists who ended up there.  400 state prisoners have been transferred to the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections  (LADC), all of  whom were living in HOD. That brings Gusman’s jail census to an all time low, as far as I can tell. That translates economically to Gusman being BROKE, he may be setting his exit strategy right now. He gets paid one way basically- per inmate per day. Low census, little money. High census, big pot of money.

The feds are about to take over the jails through their consent decree. NOPD is facing their own consent decree. Gusman admits to negotiating with federal authorities about the consent decree for a long time.

He’s being sued by people who count, like Indigent Defender Office over privacy issues.

He’s already lost the ICE Federal prisoners and the U.S. Marshall and Immigration’s prisoners, with a letter stating they didn’t trust Gusman’s jails anymore for their inmates. HOD’s last 690 prisoners have been transferred to other Gusman facilities.

Another watchopp exclusive- follow Gusman’s money trail, and you can discover just how he’s doing. Recently ICE pulled their prisoners out after the U.S. Marshall Service removed theirs.  Both Federal law enforcement agencies had the same complaint- they didn’t like what happened to their prisoners under Gusman’s deputies’ care.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Around this time, the ancient and notorious House of Detention’s (HOD) census dropped to a super low 500 prisoners,  and Gusman made his best attempt to mollify his loud critics by announcing the closing of the HOD. Shutting this building is his last best strategy to avoid the consent decree, but the handwriting is on the wall, and he cannot under any circumstances avoid federal oversight.

Gusman has been sued by lots of inmates (more than 30 recently),  but that’s a tough road to hoe according to Louisiana law for prisoners, however the New Orleans Indigent Defenders’ Office has sued him for lack of privacy when visiting with their arrested clients. Probation and Parole is also closely eying their own lawsuit for the same reason- Gusman provides no privacy when confidential conversations are proceeding. This creates appeal issues which complicates the issue substantially.

What is really going on here is the less prisoners Gusman houses, the less money he takes in. New Orleans pays the sheriff on a per prisoner basis. That’s why the New Orleans Criminal Sheriffs always have preferred a very high jail census. The money really flows when the census is sky high.This system of payment is terrible! Jail reform must change the method of funding our jail. We want as low a census as possible, not the opposite!

On top of all this, the federal government is trying very diligently to get Gusman to sign their consent decree. I do expect this to happen before the end of 2012.

Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Charles Foti at Podium

Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Charles Foti at Podium

For a couple of decades, Charles Foti ran the jail, and created his own fiefdom by keeping the census very high. Marlin Gusman took over, and began like Foti, but political forces were working against him from the start, and now a few years later, his prisoner census is so low he’s  taking in less money than ever before. He’s being softened up economically so he’ll sign the consent decree in his weakened state. This probably will come to pass. Once he signs, the federal spigot is turned on, though he’s lost some control, as long as he is under control of the  federal government, he’s in the black fast.

~ by neworleansmusicman on April 30, 2012.

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