Group calls on city to take action on lowering inmate count in Orleans Parish

NEW ORLEANS -- A local criminal justice watchdog group took to the steps of City Hall today to demand action on the number of prisoners being held in Orleans Parish.

The Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition wants the city to decrease the number of prisoners in Orleans Parish. They say the number of beds at the Orleans Parish Justice Center exceeds the maximum 1,438 beds in jail.

According to the group, the city also has been using the Temporary Detention Center on Perdido Street -- built after Hurricane Katrina as a temporary facility -- to house inmates. The coalition says there are more than 200 inmates being housed in the temporary facility.

“OPPRC has been working for years to limit the number of people incarcerated in the jail. Six months ago, (the) City Council committed to passing a law to enforce the bed cap, yet no such ordinance has been introduced. Instead, the Temporary Detention Center —which
has the capacity to jail hundreds of people — was reopened ... We are asking City Council to shut down [the Temporary Detention Center] by passing the overcrowding ordinance that the public was promised," said Sade Dumas, one of the coordinators of the prison reform coalition.

The group says they want to see action within 90 days.