The hidden side of law and order in New Orleans is a makeshift outdoor jail, erected almost overnight at a Greyhound bus depot, that authorities say was instrumental in reestablishing order in their city, reports the Boston Globe. “For the first few days, they weren’t arresting anyone because they didn’t have anywhere to put them,” said Warden Burl Cain, who normally runs the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, the nation’s largest prison. ”They could never have brought the security situation under control unless they had a place to put the bad guys.” Cain added: “now business is good.”
As of late Tuesday, the makeshift jail — a hand-written sign reads ”New Angola South” — housed 165 people. Most of them had been charged with looting, but there were other more serious crimes alleged, including attempted murder and attempted rape. Cain said those jailed are shipped within 24 hours to an out-of-town prison where they get legal representation. The US Justice Department and the Louisiana attorney general’s office monitor the operation to ensure proper procedures are followed. ”They are not to be denied any right because of the emergency,” Cain said. The entire jail is powered by train: A hulking Amtrak engine continuously generates power for the jail’s few computers and lights.