City, sheriff squabble over Orleans Parish Prison management

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wwltv.com

Posted on March 11, 2013 at 6:24 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 11 at 6:41 PM

Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
Email: pmurphy@wwltv.com | Twitter: @pmurphywwl

NEW ORLEANS – Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman is reassessing security measures at the facility after a recent series of jail breaks and the city’s calls for the feds to take over management there.

The series of tents were supposed to be a temporary solution to housing inmates at a facility that was damaged and destroyed during Katrina.

Gusman said he is feeling the heat after another prisoner escaped from the tents over the weekend.

Mitchell Manning was the seventh inmate to escape in less than a year. Three men escaped in November and another – Rubin Martin – broke out in October and remains at large. Two others escaped in May and August respectively.

“One escape is too many,” said Gusman. “We don’t have many of them, but, it’s a difficult proposition.”

A spokesman for Mayor Mitch Landrieu released a statement about the jail breaks.

“The City is concerned about the entire management of the jail which is why we have asked the Department of Justice to place the jail in receivership."

That idea did not sit well with Gusman.

“That's a bogus issue,” he said. “Whoever's saying that, if the city's saying that or the mayor's saying that, that's ridiculous.”

Gusman claims the city has not done its part to provide proper facilities at the jail.

He said the city’s old house of detention was in such deplorable condition, that he had to shut it down.

“It's about everybody doing what they're supposed to do, showing their leadership when they're supposed to lead, and not just pointing fingers and making irrational statements,” said Gusman.

The new, state-of-the-art prison won’t be completed for about a year. Until then, the inmates will remain in the prison tents.

City Council Criminal Justice Committe Chair Susan Guidry released a statement saying: "The spate of escapes from Orleans Parish Prison in the past few years only underscores the urgency for getting our new jail built and operational. It remains incumbent upon Sheriff Gusman and his staff to provide appropriate supervision of detainees at all times, regardless of where they are being held."

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