Budget Agreement between City and Sheriff Critical to Solving Jail’s Chronic Problems

September 26, 2023

The Bureau of Governmental Research (BGR) published a report today calling on the City of New Orleans and the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office to resolve a long-running disagreement over funding for the parish jail. The dispute flared anew last fall when the City Council denied the Sheriff’s request for a $12.4 million funding increase. Voters subsequently rejected a Sheriff’s Office proposal to increase property taxes for the jail by a similar amount this spring.

BGR’s 2022 report, Keys to the Jail, documents how past funding disputes and a lack of collaboration have contributed to chronic problems at the jail, which is under federal court oversight for violating the constitutional rights of persons in custody. BGR’s research on the jail also charts a path to help the City and Sheriff’s Office resolve their budgetary differences and right-size jail funding. That research supports the following recommendations for crafting the jail’s 2024 budget:

  • The Sheriff’s Office should support its 2024 funding request with detailed staffing, compensation and capital plans so the City and public can assess what the jail needs to be successful.
  • The City administration and City Council should commit to funding the jail’s demonstrated needs and provide an explanation for rejecting any portion of the Sheriff’s funding request.
  • The City administration and the Sheriff’s Office should collaborate and share information well in advance of the City Council’s budget hearings.
  • The City administration, the City Council and the Sheriff’s Office should seek to meet any new jail needs through the City’s General Fund, which has advantages over a property tax increase as a means of solving the jail’s funding problems.

Click the buttons below to visit the report page on our website, or download the report.

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