The following is a statement from Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin N. Gusman regarding the return of inmates after Hurricane Isaac:
This morning, the Sheriff's Office initiated the return of 1,064 inmates to the secured facilities of the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office, in accordance with the Sheriff's Office Hurricane Recovery Plan. The Sheriff's Office is working with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, the Louisiana Sheriff's Task Force, and other law enforcement agencies to return these inmates to our custody.
This transfer process is currently underway. The expected completion of this effort depends on highway traffic entering metro New Orleans and the available resources of the Department of Public Safety & Corrections, Louisiana Sheriff's Task Force and our partner agencies.
The inmate housing facilities currently operated by the OPSO have had full power restored, which is necessary for the return of the inmates to our facilities. All of our facilities operated on backup generator power successfully. OPSO deputies and staff have inspected the Temporary Jail (Tents) and the Temporary Detention Center to ensure the conditions are appropriate for the return of these inmates.
The Intake and Processing Center and other Sheriff's Office facilities will continue normal operations. We are able to accept for booking arrested individuals from the New Orleans Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.
During and immediately after the State of Emergency was declared 56 individuals were booked on various charges, including 32 for looting.
This Office has operated on High Alert Status since Saturday and supervised approximately 1,329 inmates housed in permanent housing facilities. The evacuation of inmates housed in temporary facilities and inmates on dialysis started Sunday evening and was completed Monday morning to avoid any conflict with traffic congestion with residents evacuating for the hurricane. The OPSO has maintained constant communication with the City of New Orleans, New Orleans Police Department and the other offices of the Orleans Parish Criminal Justice System.
We are grateful for the cooperation and assistance received from our partners at the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, the Louisiana Sheriff's Task Force and appropriate city and federal authorities, who have helped facilitate these relocations and today's subsequent return.
As always, we want to reassure the citizens of Orleans Parish that the deputies and administrative staff of the Sheriff's Office are on duty and working diligently, and acting in the best interests of public safety as our community returns.
The public can check the OPSO website at www.opso.us or call the Sheriff's Office at 504-827-8536 for more information.