Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Groups Hope HOD Closure Leads To Safer Inmate Conditions

New Orleans Shuts Down House Of Detention  
UPDATED 7:01 AM CDT Apr 10, 201

NEW ORLEANS - At least two advocacy groups said they hope Tuesday's announcement that the House of Detention is closing leads to safer and cleaner conditions for those arrested and held in jail in New Orleans.
Opened more than 50 years ago, the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana said the House of Detention, better known as the "House of D," should have been shut down a long time ago."The HOD should have been shut down years ago. Everyone has known for years that conditions inside the House of Detention are deplorable," ACLU Executive Director Marjorie Esman said.

Last month, federal marshals said they removed inmates from the facility; and last week, the department of justice did an investigative tour.

A report was released Monday that there were too many sexual assaults inside the jail.
Officials said the House of D was mentioned frequently in a 2 1/2-year-old Department of Justice report on conditions at Orleans Parish Prison.

According to the report, "During our review, we found the most densely populated facility -- the House of Detention -- was also the most understaffed, which likely explains the high incidence of violence."

The Southern Poverty Law Center agreed with the ACLU and the DOJ report, and said that when it comes to violence inside the House of D, there was a lot of punishment.
"(Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin) Gusman should be applauded for taking this step. It's unfortunate it took this long and so many lives to know what we've known for years -- the jail is too out of control," said Katie Schwartzman, managing attorney for the SPLC.
Gusman has long said that many of the findings in the DOJ report have been corrected, although many disagreed with the notion.

"This is the first step of many that I hope that will lead to improvements that are much needed at OPP," Esman said.


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