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Orleans Justice Center plagued by 'chronic understaffing'

Deputies at the Orleans Justice Center are chronically underpaid in comparison to their counterparts in other parishes.

NEW ORLEANS — Just one part of the issues at the Orleans Justice Center is what Sheriff Susan Hutson calls 'chronic understaffing'.

Deputies working at the jail start at just $15.57/hr– that's around $32,000 per year.

To put that in perspective – The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office offers a starting wage of more than $17.11/hr, and as of last year, St. Tammany Parish was offering right around $20/hr.

Councilman Freddie King even pointed out that teenage lifeguards in New Orleans hired by NORD start at more than $18.02/hr.

The low wages have left the jail struggling to keep staff and keep a safe ratio of residents to staff.

They say one staff member will sometimes be supervising 20 to 70 inmates as opposed to the international standard of seven to 10.

With 995 residents in the jail as of last week, attracting more deputies is just one significant gap Hutson says she's trying to bridge all at once.

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