A federal judge has granted preliminary approval of an agreement between the Justice Department and the city of New Orleans that's designed to clean up the city-funded jail.
The consent decree with Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman calls for him to provide adequate medical and mental health care and overhaul policies on use of force and rape prevention, among other reforms. U.S. District Judge Lance Africk's approval Tuesday is a step towards implementing some of those reforms.
The U.S. Justice Department is asking to join a class action lawsuit that accuses Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman of overseeing a jail that routinely subjects prisoners to brutal, inhumane conditions.
The federal agency filed a request Monday in federal court, asking to be included as a plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in April by the Southern Poverty Law Center contending the jail's conditions violate the U.S. Constitution.