New Orleans Sets Up Jail With A Capacity Of 700


With New Orleans’ jails flooded, a temporary holding facility has been set up at the city’s train and bus terminal, reports the Associated Press. It held only 30 prisoners yesterday, but the number was likely to swell if police from Jefferson Parish deliver inmates they had held the past few days. Nearly 8,000 prisoners were transported out of New Orleans jails last week and moved to state prisons and jails in neighboring towns. “The first guy we housed drove up in a stolen car and wanted to buy a bus ticket,” said Col. Terry Norris of the Louisiana Department of Corrections. “We gave him a bus ticket, just not to the place he wanted to go.”

The temporary jail has a capacity of about 700. The cells behind the terminal are open-air cages with chain-link fencing, topped by razor wire, extending from the concrete train platform to an overhang about 15 feet high. Each cell is identified by a hand-lettered sign _ “Cell 1, misdemeanors,” for example _ and contains a portable toilet with the door removed. The prisoners are separated according to crimes. Inside “Cell 3, felony,” some two dozen men milled around. Nearly all had been brought in for looting. Any stolen property valued above $300 was treated as a felony. Said one corrections official: “These are not people who stole food. They stole drugs from pharmacies or TVs from stores.”


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