The clock is ticking on a consent decree over Sheriff Marlin Gusman and his prison complex.
A U.S. District Court Judge has set an Oct. 15th deadline for Gusman, the city of New Orleans, the U.S. Justice Department and the Southern Poverty Law Center to come up with a proposed consent decree, according to court filings.
For years, Gusman and the state of his jail facilities have been under scrutiny. The Justice Department recently joined an SPLC seeking broad reforms of the sheriff's agency and the complex. In court filings, Gusman's attorneys said he was for many of the mandates, though the city would have to be on the hook for financing them.
Now, all the sides are in negotiations.
The Justice Department notified Gusman in February 2008 that it would pursue an investigation into the prison complex. Investigators later found the facility rife with constitutional violations. The two sides have gone back and forth for years, with little resolution, at least publicly.
The SPLC filed its federal civil rights lawsuit in April, alleging inhumane conditions, rampant violence, discrimination, deputy misconduct and more. The Justice Department joined that case last month.
Spokesmen for Gusman and the city have not commented on the current negotiations.