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Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office responds to mayor’s letter to Department of Corrections

NEW ORLEANS - 8-12-2015

This is yet another desperate misrepresentation and a further obfuscation of responsibility on the part of Mayor Landrieu. Either he just doesn't understand or is deliberately attempting to damage a successful partnership between the Sheriff's Office and the La. Dept. of Public Safety and Corrections (DOC).

Despite a history of political rhetoric and obstructions, including the failed "Stop Work Order," the mayor continues down a path of divisiveness instead of seeking solutions. The fact is the federal court was encouraging the completion of the building which Landrieu tried to stop. The court said that September 15 was a reasonable date and now Landrieu wants to turn it around to damage the relationship. Moving the DOC-billed inmates, including a successful Re-Entry Program out of this parish is a clear example of his divisiveness and shortsightedness.

Today, OPSO has 347 inmates billed to DOC, which includes 128 in the Re-Entry Program; 38 in transitional work; 18 assigned to the kitchen; eight in community service and, on any given day, an average of 60 awaiting transfer to DOC. An additional 95 are DOC inmates, the majority of whom have open charges and are awaiting prosecution in Criminal District Court. A smaller number of DOC inmates are either required by writ to be housed here to testify in other cases, or, to assist in appeals of their own cases.*

These DOC inmates cook and serve food in the kitchen. DOC inmates also clean and maintain areas of the jail as well as various local government offices. Removing this group of DOC inmates and hiring civilian staff to perform these various functions will increase costs that taxpayers will bear.

Removing re-entry inmates would also come at great expense to the citizens of New Orleans.

Those inmates are scheduled to be released into the New Orleans area and are being provided with an opportunity to connect with family, clergy, and potential employers in the hopes of avoiding re-offending.

This program has been successful at reducing recidivism. Put simply, the Re-Entry Program seeks to provide the result that the city wants, which is to reduce the population of those being continually arrested and incarcerated.

The city's continued attempt to politicize this issue exposes the flaw in the city's jail-reduction strategy. Instead of analyzing predicted city populations, crime rates, recidivism rates, and the potential of population-reduction strategies to determine the number of beds in the Orleans Parish jail system, the city ignored all of those factors and arbitrarily capped the jail based upon the number of beds which existed in two facilities (Templeman III and IV), which were destroyed in Hurricane Katrina.

Finally, federal monitor Susan McCampbell and sub-monitor Margo Frasier recently testified the following: Even when excluding the total number of DOC inmates the number of city detainees far exceeds the capacity of the new jail. Despite the clear indication that neither the court, the federal monitors, DOC, nor the Sheriff have given any credence to the city's myths about an excess of DOC inmates in the jail system, the city continues to lash out as a result of its own shortcomings on public safety.

A prime example of the city's disdain for public safety is allowing the city-owned Old Parish Prison to fall into disrepair, inadequately funding the agency responsible for running it, then complaining about conditions at the jail. The city can't have it both ways.

The reality is between 400 and 700 inmates will need to be relocated to other parishes as a result of the city's failure to comply with the law to provide a good and sufficient jail.

As was clearly stated in the Sheriff's editorial to The Times Picayune earlier this week, the Sheriff hopes the city will live up to its responsibility to maintain public safety.

* (For security reasons, the precise number of DOC inmates per jail facility is not disclosed.)


 

Sheriff Expects To Close Old Facilities In Mid September

NEW ORLEANS - 8-6-2015

Today, the federal monitors cited tremendous improvement at the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office since their last visit.

Sheriff Marlin N. Gusman said he is anticipating the opening of the new inmate housing facility which is nearing completion. He reiterated that the Sheriff's Office will not occupy the new facility until all systems in the building known as Phase II have been tested and verified to operate safely. The Phase II facility, which is a replacement for buildings destroyed during Hurricane Katrina, can accommodate any type of prisoner as contemplated by the 2011 conditional use ordinance.

The Sheriff's Office moved forward on the replacement project after the City of New Orleans failed to build new jail facilities despite a Louisiana law that requires the city to provide the Sheriff with "a good and sufficient jail."

The Sheriff said he is looking forward to the opening of the new inmate housing unit and closing the outdated, deteriorated old buildings currently housing inmates.

The Sheriff said by mid September, he expects to shutter the Conchetta jail facility, a converted motel; as well as Templeman V; the temporary housing units known as "The Tents;" and the city-owned Old Parish Prison, which was designed and built in the 1920s.

In addition to existing security personnel, the Sheriff Office will continue to recruit new deputies to staff the jail facilities.


 

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Harmony House

The OPSO Harmony House addresses the needs of parent, child, the courts, and the communities of New Orleans and the surrounding metropolitan areas by providing a safe, supportive environment for Supervised Visitation and Monitored Exchanges with equal regard for parent and child safety.

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Young Marines

The OPSO chapter of the Young Marines is in partnership with the national Young Marines program. Youth under the age of 18 enroll for drill, games, field trips, and education.

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West Bank Major Crime Taskforce

Deputies assigned to this task force focusing on major crimes and narcotics enforcement on the West Bank.





United States Marshals Task Force

OPSO also participates in US Marshal task force activities, focusing on the apprehension of violent criminals in the Greater New Orleans Area and monitors registered sex offenders in Orleans Parish.



The Great Body Shop

The Great Body Shop program is a school-based program which covers drug prevention, health, bullying, emergency situations, nutrition, and other topics for youth from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Materials and training are available from OPSO.

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Sheriff Marlin N. Gusman’s Supervised Visitation Center

This program is in partnership with Harmony House and provides non-custodial parents a safe drop-off and/or visitation area.

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Juvenile Curfew Center

OPSO maintains the Orleans Parish Juvenile Curfew Center in conjunction with the New Orleans Police Department. Youth under the age of 18 are brought to the facility when they violate City of New Orleans curfew laws and are held in a non-secure environment until a parent or guardian arrives for them.

Elderly Victim Assistance and Victim’s Assistance

This program is in partnership with the State of Louisiana Victims Assistance Board and provides limited funding and assistance to elderly or non-elderly victims of crime.

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Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE)

DARE is a school-based drug awareness and prevention program for youth. OPSO’s main focus is sixth graders through high-school.

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This program focuses on outstanding warrants for violent crimes. Persons wanted for violent crimes are targeted and arrested for public safety. This program is grant funded in partnership with the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and focuses on proactive crime prevention in high crime areas and the apprehension of wanted fugitives.

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Warren McDaniels Transitional Workforce Center

Department of Corrections inmates who have eighteen months or less and a suitable record can end their sentence in the work release program at the Warren McDaniels Transitional Workforce Facility.

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Re-Entry

This program is in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections and provides job training, counseling, and drug treatment services to DOC inmates who are within nine months of release.

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Narcotics Anonymous

This program is available to inmates in Conchetta, the South White Street Female Facility and the Warren McDaniels Transitional Workforce Center and will be expanding to other buildings as additional volunteers are gained.

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Low Literacy to GED  Educational Services

These services are provided by our educational partners, the Orleans Parish Public Schools’ Alternative Learning Institute (South White Street Female Facility, juveniles held as adults, House of Detention, and Orleans Parish Prison)...

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Intensive Incarceration

This program is in partnership with the Louisiana Commission for Law Enforcement and will shortly be introduced at the South White Street Female Facility. Female inmates will receive intensive drug treatment counseling and educational services.

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HIV Counseling and Testing

This program is in partnership with the Office of Public Health. All incoming arrestees are offered HIV testing upon arrival. A trained nurse is on hand to counsel the patient on the results. As a matter of course, arrestees...

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GED Testing Center

OPSO is a State of Louisiana Department of Education certified GED testing facility. We give a monthly GED test for the public, and test inmate students within secure facilities approximately every two months or as students are ready.

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Electronic Monitoring Program

This program is in partnership with the City of New Orleans and the Crime Coalition. At the discretion of the courts, bonded, sentenced inmates are fitted with an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet...

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Day Reporting Center

The Day Reporting Center is a collaborative agreement between the New Orleans Sheriff Office and the Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections. The New Orleans Day Reporting Center program strives...

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Community Service

Inmates who are considered low risk and who wish to work for the public good are assigned to Community Service, where they perform a number of civic tasks. The Community Service Division also works in partnership with...

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Alcoholics Anonymous

This program is available to inmates in the House of Detention and the Warren McDaniels Transitional Workforce Center and will be expanding to other buildings as additional volunteers are gained. There is also a group...

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