Orleans Justice Center

The Bureau of Governmental Research releases report on Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office Jail and what they can do to make improvements

By Kenny Lopez

Source: WGNO

August 4, 2022

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— A new report by The Bureau of Governmental Research is now out and it focuses on how the Orleans Parish Sheriff can better work with the City of New Orleans to forge improvements and strategic planning within the Parish’s jail.

The new report, “Keys to the Jail: How New Orleans Can Sustain Jail Reforms through Better Governance” analyzes ways to improve the jail’s performance by reforming its governance structure, or the division of responsibilities between the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office and the City of New Orleans.

The BGR report essentially aims to end more than 50 years of federal oversight of the jail. BGR leaders says it is a must that the city and the jail stop pointing fingers and work together to fix the problems plaguing the jail.

For the last 50 years, the jail has been under either Federal Court oversight or investigation. Orleans Parish Sheriff Susan Hutson keeps promising jail reforms like helping inmates with medical or mental issues and more accountability within the jail.

But the BGR Report says that the City must be more involved in order for the reforms to happen. The report recommends a multi-year agreement between the Sheriff and the City. That agreement would include better coordination between departments and provide more transparency with regard to the jail’s spending.

Becky Mowbary, President of BGR said, “There’s this misalignment of responsibility with the way the jail is set up. The Sheriff runs the jail, but the City of New Orleans pays the jail. There’s nothing that says they need to work together, so that means there are all sorts of disconnects.”

The BGR report also maps out the need for an independent board to oversee jail performance after Federal oversight ends.

BGR leaders say they want this report to be a guide for the current Sheriff, but also for administrations that follow.

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