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New Orleans Jail Exposed

In a lawsuit against New Orleans Sheriff Marlin Gusman, evidence was presented that showed just how bad the New Orleans jail had become back in 2009. The video, filmed at the jail with a phone smuggled in, shows inmates in filthy conditions. But what is rather more shocking is that these inmates are seen drinking beer, gambling and injecting heroin.

The facility was closed in 2012 because, according to the Sheriff, it had a, “state of disrepair and abhorrent lack of proper security measures." At least in the video, this seems like an understatement. So why was the detention center kept open for three years after the video was shot? That’s the subject of the lawsuit, brought by the ACLU and alleging unsafe conditions.

NO Mayor Rich Landrieu has been brought into the scandal as well, but his role is to fix the problems. In a statement, Landrieu quoted as saying, "It is now clearer than ever that the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office is not keeping the prison secure and our city safe. The people of the city are investing over $226 million to build new prison facilities and over $30 million each year in the taxpayer money to operate the jail. I cannot in good conscience cut vital services or raise taxes to put even more money into an office where waste, fraud, and abuse run rampant."

Although the conditions are appalling, the video looks a bit like an advertisement for going to jail. And why not? If you can get free meals and still have drugs, booze and guns? That’s right, an inmate shows off his pistol on the video. The footage can be seen here.

The Southern Policy Law Center alleges this stuff is still happening in other Louisiana jails and wants the courts to intervene. A settlement in December is back in court because there isn’t yet enough money yet to make the needed changes and it may take court-ordered oversight to make changes.

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