Sheriff: 7 Orleans Justice Center inmates show signs of COVID-19

Sheriff: 7 Orleans Justice Center inmates show signs of COVID-19
Sheriff Marlin Gusman has asked the criminal court to release some inmates to help stop the spread of coronavirus in the jail. (Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman said that seven inmates have signs of COVID-19 and asked criminal court to release non-violent offenders with no prior offenses as a precaution.

Gusman sent a letter to Judge Robin Pittman on Thursday asking for the court’s assistance.

“We have tested and are awaiting the results on each of those individuals,” Gusman wrote in a letter. “Some of our staff members have tested positive, and other are quarantined at home and awaiting test results.”

He said reduction of the number of inmates would allow the prison to “flex” units to allow rotation of populations, sanitization of empty units, and further separation of individuals in custody.

He said even a “temporary release" would help the jail.

Gusman also asked that non-violent offenders who would likely be released from jail upon first appearance in court be allowed to stay out of jail for at least 30 days.

The judges have not responded to the request as of Thursday evening.

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