NEW ORLEANS, La. (WGNO) - The legal battle over the Orleans Parish Prison's housing plans is heating up again. A hearing on the case between the city and the sheriff started Thursday morning. The City and the Sheriff's Office both had representatives present and came in with posters and diagrams, both fighting for different plans when it comes to inmate housing.
The hearing was supposed to start at 9:30 AM, but an hour later they were still privately discussing the matter in Judge Kern Reese's chambers.
This whole debate started back in 2011, when the City Council gave the Sheriff's Office a 'conditional' use permit to construct a jail facility for 145 million dollars. Sheriff Marlin Gusman later requested nearly 85 million more dollars to build another facility. Then, the City Council put out a stop work order last month. They don't want two facilities. They say one facility is fine, but the first facility in it's current form, violates city code, since it does not provide adequate housing for mentally ill, female, disabled inmates and more. But the Sheriff's Office says in 2013, the City was on board with building another facility and this is unfair.
Two days after the City Council put out that order, Judge Reese issued a temporary restraining order, preventing the City from enforcing that stop work order. We will have to see if they reveal what happened behind closed doors Thursday.