Mayor Allowing Jailer to Build Bigger Jail!

There is nothing good to report here, it’s all bad, very bad. The absolute last thing New Orleans needs is more jail space, but we’re getting it, courtesy of our mayor. I’m really not happy with  Mayor Mitch Landrieu. His way of dealing with Gusman hasn’t panned out, and now he backs Gusman’s play?  I don’t get it at all.

Orleans Parish Prison

Orleans Parish Prison

Gusman didn’t do what he was ordered to do, mainly build an infirmary, suicide watch cells, child offender isolation cells, mental health services,and protective custody cells in the main building for prisoners under construction. When caught, he said he would get the architects back and retrofit the jail under construction to have these important additions.

I guess our mayor, in his infinite wisdom (?) decided that plan wouldn’t work very well, so he gave Gusman his way. What? He’s been fighting with Gusman for months and months, with the media and without. He and his people have stated many times that Gusman isn’t fit to keep his job.

If I don’t follow the rules, I’m headed to jail or I’ll lose my job, family, or worse. Gusman gets to build another building? I’m shocked and amazed.

Our City Council isn’t thrilled with this new development. Why should they be?  The population of Orleans Parish Prison is around 2,400, which is more than 2.5 times the per capita average of jails in major American cities.  The council will have amend the ordinance to continue building the first two buildings and take out the parts that Gusman decided not follow. Then they have to pass a new ordinance to allow the third building to rise.

New Orleans Parish Prison Building Under Construction

New Orleans Parish Prison Building Under Construction

As I’ve written before that Gusman has around $50 million in unspent FEMA dollars hanging around for the last 7 years. I assume he will be forced to spent those funds on his new third building. That’s more than fair, why should anyone else pay for this horrendous mistake made entirely by Marlin Gusman?

Councilwoman Susan Guidry said she will be taking a very close look to determine  whether a third building is really needed, and if so, what should that building be used for?

Gusman was very remiss here and the mayor and council should have checked the original building plans to discover that Gusman wasn’t doing what he said he’d do. None of the folks responsible did the proper thing. Very disappointing, to say the least.

Dana Kaplan, executive director of the Juvenile Justice Project, summed up the situation perfectly- We should have seen this coming. The ball was dropped. The sheriff should have planned better. The city should have been monitoring and leading the process.

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~ by neworleansmusicman on August 25, 2013.

2 Responses to “Mayor Allowing Jailer to Build Bigger Jail!”

  1. The Mayor may be in conflict with Gusman publicly but he’s been in conversation with him for over a year about building another building in opposition to the spirit of the 2011 ordinance capping the beds. See: http://thelensnola.org/2012/06/22/new-600-bed-jail-facility/ I believe that Gusman is just doing what the Mayor has privately given him permission to do, but the Mayor is trying to find political cover by blaming Gusman. I think the Sheriff and Mayor have conspired together to violate the laws of this city.

    • Hey Pam, I sure Gusman plots with his cronies to violate the laws of New Orleans and possibly our mayor. Neither one gets very high marks for the whole OPP consent decree issue. Gusman wants more beds since he’s paid for each inmate. That is a terrible way to fund the jail! I sincerely hope that the consent decree fixes this system. I’m not sure that consent decrees hold that much sway, but I hope so. Not sure why the mayor wants more beds, that really doesn’t make too much sense to me. Thanks very much for commenting on my watchopp blog.

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