New Orleans appealing ruling over jail building
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The city of New Orleans is appealing a federal judge’s latest ruling in a legal dispute over the need for a new jail building to house inmates with mental health issues.
The ruling denied the city permission to freeze work on the project.
Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s administration cites a declining jail population and the city’s grim economic picture amid the pandemic as it seeks to halt work.
U.S. District Judge Lance Africk, who is overseeing the city’s compliance with jail reforms outlined in a court settlement, has been critical of the city’s opposition.
The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reports that the city continues to question the need for the project. According to the city, an entire unit remains empty at an older jail building that was renovated to house mentally ill inmates until a permanent building is finished. The city also points to a declining jail population.
The city filed notice this week that it would appeal Africk’s ruling at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal.
Africk has accused the city of being misleading about the history of the legal disputes over the building. He said the record was clear that former Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration promised to build the facility.
The city is required under state law to provide buildings for the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, which runs the jail.
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