The sheriff in charge of the overcrowded and violent New Orleans jail is firing back at critics. Sheriff Marlin Gusman favors a federal consent decree, while Mayor Mitch Landrieu says a federal receiver should be in charge.
Federal Judge Lance Africk is hearing testimony in New Orleans on a consent decree worked out with the Justice Department, attorneys for inmates and the city. But Gusman says he’s being unfairly scapegoated.
“This is not Boise, Idaho. We have a violent crime problem in New Orleans and that problem crosses over into our jails.”
Jail operations got slammed this week after an amateur video surfaced from 2009, showing inmates with weapons and drugs inside their cells. Gusman says the video may have been doctored but offered no other explanation.
Judge Africk heard final arguments today. He will decide on the fairness of the consent decree, and who will end up running the jail and the final cost.