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Orleans inmates remain barricaded, asking for help

The standoff has been non-violent as negotiations proceed, according to Sheriff Susan Hutson.

NEW ORLEANS — Inmates in a high-security pod in the Orleans Parish Justice Center remained barricaded inside the pod Sunday, blocking out jail staff Friday, according to the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office.

Several of the men could be seen inside the jail from the street. Some were holding signs. 

The inmates are all either violent offenders or suspects in violent crimes awaiting trial, according to Sheriff Susan Hutson, who said they have been put into lockdown more often as a result of recent violence inside the prison.

Friday night, Hutson said those inmates refused to go into lockdown and blocked jail staff from entering the pod.

The inmates provided jail staff with a letter asking for things like more books and access to a TV to watch Saints games, according to Sheriff Susan Hutson.

Their letter also included complaints against specific staff members at the jail. Hutson would not go into details on those complaints, but said they're being taken seriously and have been given to investigators.

Hutson said that no one, inmates or jail staff, has been injured during the protest.

She added that since the protest has been non-violent, no violence will be used against the inmates.

"We do not want to use force if we don't have to," Hutson said. "They’re not going anywhere. This is not like on the street where they could run into a home or do something like that. They’re locked inside the facility. Time is on our side.”

Hutson said she's open to fulfilling some of the inmates' requests, but will only talk to them about it if they go back into lockdown.

A similar demonstration occurred in a women's pod, but was resolved quickly. Sheriff Hutson said that pepper spray was used on one inmate in that incident.

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