Justice Department Now Wants Jailer Gusman Out!!
The U.S. Justice Department has asked U.S. District Judge Lance Africk to remove elected jailer Marlin Gusman from office and appoint an outside administrator to run Orleans Parish Prison. In 2013, the Justice Department argued in favor of keeping Gusman when Mitch Landrieu called for his ouster.
I’ve been after Gusman to resign since before the new jail was ever built. His jail has been unconstitutional for a long time. It’s particularly galling that the new jail, which was supposed to fix all the problems, has fixed none of them. The new jail is as unsafe as the old, and the the staff remains underpaid and of suspect quality.
What’s the sheriff’s comeback in the face of all this fierce criticism? He says he inherited the problems. That’s only fair the first year or so while a newly elected official is their honeymoon period. Gusman is enjoying his third term currently. That’s not a newcomer, it’s a seasoned veteran!
The government re-intervened after the team of incarceration experts recommended that sections of the new jail be shut down until Gusman can get a handle on the numerous inmate attacks, which occur due to poor supervision. Susan McCampbell, the lead federal monitor for the jail, stated, If it were up to us, we would close the facility floor by floor until it can be successfully operated.
At the same hearing, another expert, Justice Department attorney Laura Coon, suggested that the government had lost patience with Gusman and would be asking the judge to name a third party to end the jail’s unconstitutional practices.
Coon said the Justice Department and the Sheriff’s Office were not on the same page as to what steps were necessary to successfully reform the jail.
The Landrieu administration chimed into this discussion. Hayne Rainey, a City Hall spokesman said in a statement, It is in the best interests of our taxpayers and our public safety that the jail is run competently and constitutionally. It’s been almost three years since Mayor Landrieu began calling or Gusman’s replacement. The mayor acted after the public release of smuggled out videos showing inmates walking free on the streets of New Orleans, taking drugs, and playing with guns!
Gusman has commented, saying a federal takeover of the jail is not the answer. That’s exactly the response one would expect from the jailer, who remains on the hot seat no matter what he does. Gusman defended his staff and ordered another reorganization of his administration.