City issues Stop Work Order on new jail for 'Flagrant Violations - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

City issues Stop Work Order on new jail for 'Flagrant Violations'

Sheriff Marlin Gusman says new jail building will help solve ongoing problems at current, aging jail. (WVUE File Photo) Sheriff Marlin Gusman says new jail building will help solve ongoing problems at current, aging jail. (WVUE File Photo)
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The City of New Orleans issued a stop work order on all construction of the new Orleans Parish jail due to what they're calling "flagrant violations of City Code and failing to build a jail that can house all populations."

In a release put out by the City of New Orleans, officials say the jail could not house inmates with "medical and mental health needs," a requirement in the permits approved by City Council in 2011.

Director of the New Orleans Department of Safety and Permits Jared Munster said the the new jail is being built in clear violation of the law. 

“When construction of the jail was debated and decided back in 2010 and 2011, the Sheriff was required to build a prison that addresses the needs of all populations as conditions for approval, including those with medical and mental health needs; the current jail facility is not equipped to do that," Munster said. "Therefore, the City of New Orleans is ordering the Sheriff to halt all construction on the project until the City can verify that the Sheriff has properly addressed these vulnerable populations in the new jail facility.”

According to the city, federal courts and the consent decree monitor both recognized that the new Phase II facility is not being properly constructed to adequately house inmates with medical and mental health conditions, female and juvenile inmates, disabled inmates and inmates requiring disciplinary or administrative segregation.

In addition to the stop work order, the City Attorney's Office filed a write of mandamus in Civil District Court ordering Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman to adhere to local ordinances that requires the new facility to house all inmates. The lawsuit asks the Civil District Court to require the Sheriff to get the new jail into compliance as soon as possible.

"The Sheriff simply refuses to comply with City law and continues to ignore directives of the City and the City Council," said City Attorney Sharonda Williams. "Our request is that the Sheriff follow the law and build a jail to house all inmates, and we ask that he abide by the terms of approval authorized by the City Planning Commission and City Council."

Fox 8 has reached out to the Sheriff's Office for comment and will continue to update this story as it develops.

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