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.
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.
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.