NEW ORLEANS A federal judge overseeing the consent decree for the Orleans Parish prison has approved a plan to temporarily house mentally ill patients at a facility in Iberville Parish, a move applauded by the sheriff and that concerned the city administration.

The order calls for the city to spend more than $400,000 on renovations and supplies at the state's Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel.

The city will also be required to supply more than $200,000 monthly for security, mental health staff and food for the inmates.

'While it is the city's responsibility to provide a good and sufficient jail, our proposed solution is the only viable plan on the table,' said Sheriff Marlin Gusman. 'We are pleased that Judge Africk recognized our progressive efforts to comply with the consent agreement.'

'We strongly believe that the Hunt facility is not the appropriate short-term housing solution for acute mental health inmates,' said Tyler Gamble, a spokesman for the city. 'We are reviewing the Court's ruling and determining our legal options.'

Gamble said city officials were 'shocked and disappointed' when the sheriff decided to build a new jail that was not equipped to house mentally ill inmates.

'We are very concerned with the consent decree monitor's recent report that showed that the Sheriff is not making any real strides towards running a constitutional jail. As the monitor said, it is a leadership issue, not a resource issue.'

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