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IG: Orleans jail is "adequately funded"

Published: Jun. 6, 2013 at 8:47 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 13, 2013 at 8:48 PM CDT
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Sheriff Marlin Gusman at the jail (File)
Sheriff Marlin Gusman at the jail (File)

A report by the city's inspector general finds that not only is the city jail adequately funded -- it also spends almost double per inmate what the state and other parishes spend to house their inmates.

FOX 8 received this news release from the Office of Inspector General Thursday afternoon:

The New Orleans Office of Inspector General today released a report on its Inspection of Taxpayer/City Funding to the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office for the City Jail.

The inspection found that the City did not include all Jail financial support in its budget allocation, and that OPSO did not provide the City with a functional budget as required by the Local Government Budget Act. It found that the City had no way of knowing how its funds were spent because OPSO commingled funds from operating and some capital revenue sources, and accounted for expenses by categories that aggregated Jail and non-Jail expenses.

The inspection determined that the City provided OPSO with $36 million in 2011, or $47.26 per inmate per day, almost double that paid by the state and other parishes for housing their inmates.

A comparison with the Louisville Jail showed that OPSO spent 38% more to support similar numbers of inmates and staff. OPSO expenses on contractual services, supplies, Inmate Food, Legal and Debt Service were several times higher than Louisville's.

The report recommended that the City identify all allocations for the jail in the annual budget, and that the City not appropriate funds for the Jail unless OPSO provides it with a detailed, functional budget that identifies the specific Jail expenditures the revenues support.

Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux said, "The Jail appears to be adequately funded, and neither additional money nor financial audits would fix its problems. The root cause is a dysfunctional structure that gives OPSO a blank check that the City must sign, and ensures that neither the City nor OPSO can be held wholly accountable for conditions in the Jail. The Jail will remain as it is until that structure is changed."

For comment, additional information or to schedule an interview, call Laura Paul, 504 344-4884. Other reports issued by the Office of Inspector General can be viewed and downloaded from the website at http://www.nolaoig.org.

The Mayor's Office issued this statement on the report:


"Judge Africk's ruling today is a clear condemnation of the conditions and operations of the Orleans Parish Prison. He also noted that the Court has not determined that any additional funds are needed to remedy the problems. Separately, the Inspector General today reported that 'the jail appears to be adequately funded, and neither additional money nor financial audits would fix its problems.' I will continue to make our case to the Court that the problems at OPP are more about management than money. The only way to fix the conditions and operations at the jail is to put a federal receiver in place that will run a safe and secure jail in a financially responsible way."

FOX 8 also has reached out to the Sheriff's Office for a response; we will update this page as soon as we received it.

You can read the full report, in PDF format, at this link.