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Sheriff Gusman Spars With Mayor Landrieu Over Jail Conditions

Eileen Fleming

Sheriff Marlin Gusman spent six hours testifying at the federal court hearing over a consent decree to reform his jail. He then took aim at his critics at a news conference.

Sheriff Gusman spoke with reporters for almost 15 minutes at a news conference held outside the new jail that’s under construction. He blasted critics — especially Mayor Mitch Landrieu — who doubt his ability to run a proper prison.

“I asked you to join me here for a reason. The Sheriff’s Office is responsible for the new jail buildings being built here. This construction is possible because of the work this office did with FEMA. The mayor tries to tell you he’s building a new jail. He’s wrong.”  

Gusman says he warned Landrieu in 2010 that the jail was facing a financial crisis, but was not given any attention. Landrieu has said he worked with the Justice Department on the consent decree to reform the jail, but was shocked at the $110 million price tag.

Gusman dismisses the protests coming as the consent decree is reviewed.

“The mayor chooses to waste time with Washington-style politics and Archie Bunker-style rhetoric,” he said. 

Landrieu issued a statement last night, saying the hearings are proving the jail is mismanaged. He continues calling for a federal receivership to ensure corrections experts run a safe and fiscally sound facility. US District Judge Lance Africk will determine who runs the jail, and how much money it should cost.  

Eileen is a news reporter and producer for WWNO. She researches, reports and produces the local daily news items. Eileen relocated to New Orleans in 2008 after working as a writer and producer with the Associated Press in Washington, D.C. for seven years.

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