Work Stopped on Orleans Parish Prison

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu ordered the stoppage of all work on the contentious Orleans Parish Prison on June 24, only to have a civil district judge rule in favor of the sheriff’s office and temporarily order progress to resume on June 26. Work will now continue until July 8, when a hearing will take place to decide the project’s next move.

New Orleans Weighs Inmate Housing Options

The lack of specialized housing for inmates with severe mental illness in the soon to be completed Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) is the latest point of contention for the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office (OPSO) and the city’s mayor. Though the new 433,000-square foot prison will improve significantly on New Orleans’ hurricane-ravaged correctional facilities, it currently does not include a unit for inmates living with acute and sub-acute mental illness. This has prompted Sheriff Marlin Gusman to propose construction of another new correctional facility.

NOLA Leaders Advance Prison Reforms

On April 17 the City of New Orleans and the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office signed a partial settlement concerning sweeping improvements to the Orleans Parish Prison (OPP). These changes, required under terms of a federal consent decree, address improvements to both living conditions and management of the facility. Costs for the court-ordered upgrades have been estimated at up to $22 million.

Debate Surrounding Orleans Parish Prison Continues

The third phase of a new inmate housing facility, part of the New Orleans Parish Prison, will soon be constructed on a piece of land owned by the City of New Orleans. Mayor Mitch Landrieu recently agreed to the construction project, which will house women, youths, sick and mentally ill inmates. This new housing center will help keep these inmates separate from those contained at the Orleans Parish Prison.