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NEW ORLEANS -- With an important court hearing set to begin Monday on how to finance the Orleans Parish Prison consent decree, the Office of Inspector General issued an opinion Friday.

It says money that the sheriff's civil division generates should be used for jail reforms.

In earlier court filings, Sheriff Marlin Gusman argued that the civil division surplus -- about $2-million last year -- should be kept separate from jail operations.

But according to Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux, the consolidation of the Criminal and Civil sheriffs in 2010 was also designed to consolidate their budgets.

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