Trials Ordered to Discover Who Will Improve Orleans Parish Prison!!
I didn’t see this coming, and if any jail affectionado did, I’d be very surprised. I thought this fight was between Gusman and the Mayor. However, on Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Lance Africk waded into the fray and ordered that two trials be held to determine whether conditions inside the jail are unconstitutional, and if they are, then who should pay to bring them into compliance. Africk ordered a February 19 trial on the constitutional claims, and an April 1 trial to determine funding, assuming jail conditions are deemed unconstitutional.
You have to give Africk his props for taking on this battle. Obviously, behind the scenes, Africk has been watching with dismay with the rest of the city as Gusman dragged his feet and dragged his feet and then dragged his feet some more. Africk said the city will not agree that changes are needed at the jail until the funding dispute is resolved.
The Consent Degree fight had boiled down to a standoff between the Mayor and the Sheriff and to call it a mexican standoff would be an understatement. They are squabbling over $14 million. Gusman claims he needs this money immediately to implement staffing and training improvements. The mayor is adamant that the jailer sign the consent decree before any new money is forthcoming.
“There has been no proof that any of the unconstitutional conditions at the jail are the result of a lack of funding,” mayoral spokesman Ryan Berni said. Landrieu doesn’t want to use any city money at all for the consent decree.