Feds find 'alarming conditions' at N.O. jail
NEW ORLEANS - The Justice Department says its recent inspection of the New Orleans jail found "alarming conditions" and uncovered persistently high rates of prisoner-on-prisoner violence and staff misconduct.
In a letter Monday to Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman, the Justice Department's civil rights division accused jail officials of failing to take basic steps to correct "systemic issues" and "serious constitutional violations" that were identified in a 2009 report by the department.
Gusman's office and the Justice Department have been negotiating terms of a consent decree that would require certain changes at Orleans Parish Prison, the city's only jail. The department said it will consider suing if Gusman's office fails to negotiate in good faith.
A spokesman for Gusman said the sheriff received the letter late Monday and planned to respond.