The two candidates for mayor of New Orleans answered questions posed by students in higher education institutions in the city at a forum at Tulane University.
City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell and former Municipal Court Judge Desiree Charbonnet took turns answering questions from students about a wide range of city issues – including what they’d do about knocking down the city’s high incarceration rate.
Cantrell says much more outreach is needed to help inmates return to the community, especially women.
“It’s easier to get a male coming out of prison, getting the food stamps and all those services, really within 48 hours. And it takes up to about two weeks to get a woman what she needs. So that needs to be changed," Cantrell said.
Charbonnet says more mental health services and drug treatments are needed to keep people out of jail in the first place.
“If we can start spending more money on early childhood education centers, less money on jails, more money on treatment centers, less money on jails, then we won’t need the jails, we won’t need as many beds." Charbonnet said.
Tulane University political science professor Rosalind Blanco Cook says both candidates agreed on many issues. She noted Cantrell emphasized her extensive community organization record, while Charbonnet spoke of her 20 years on the bench.
Cook says students are most concerned about where they will settle after they graduate.
“You try to really just let them know that government is going to be part of their life, and is part of their life now and try to have an interest in that,” she said.
The runoff will be decided Saturday, Nov. 18.