Judge: New Orleans Jail an “Indelible Stain On the Community”


Taking aim at years of violence, rapes, suicides, and poor conditions at Orleans Parish Prison, U.S. District Court Judge Lance Africk approved a federal consent decree mandating sweeping changes at the jail complex to bring it up to constitutional standards, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The judge will hold a hearing Monday to determine how much the prison reforms will cost and who will pay for them. New Orleans Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux issued a report saying the city has been adequately funding its operations and problems there cannot be blamed on a lack of money, as Sheriff Marlin Gusman has claimed. Africk highlighted chilling testimony of inmates who were assaulted behind bars, some in plain view of guards. He also cited mental health prisoners who were living in cells with feces. Africk said the consent decree is “the only way to overcome the years of stagnation that permitted [the prison] to remain an indelible stain on the community, and it will ensure that OPP inmates are treated in a manner that does not offend contemporary notions of human decency.”

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