New Orleans Jail Violence Detailed in Federal Court Hearings

Apr 2, 2013

Problems at the New Orleans jail are being revealed in graphic testimony under way in federal court. A judge is hearing what’s wrong with jail management, and what’s the solution.

U.S. District Judge Lance Africk is hearing testimony from experts in jail management, and from inmates about sexual assaults taking place after guards lock down a unit for the night.

Prison consultant Jeffery Schwartz testified that the Orleans Parish jail desperately needs more staffing. He was hired by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which sued for reforms.

The Department of Justice reached a consent decree outlining changes it says will make the jail operate under constitutional practices. Sheriff Marlin Gusman has agreed to the plan, but the city is fighting the $22 million annual price tag.

Gusman and more inmates are expected to testify this week.