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In Court Filing, Jail Official Blasts City’s Request To Halt Work On New Mental Health Unit

Michael Isaac Stein
The Lens

Attorneys for Darnley Hodge, the appointed compliance director who oversees the New Orleans jail, on Wednesday filed a lengthy opposition to a request by the city of New Orleans in federal court for permission to suspend planning for a new jail facility known as Phase III.

In the filing — part of a federal consent decree over the New Orleans jail — Hodge alleges that the city was violating multiple court orders — as well as an agreement with the Sheriff’s office — by suspending design work on Phase III last month, and that it is legally obligated to move forward with the facility.

“For years, the parties to this litigation have been working to program, design, and construct an 89-bed jail facility that will house inmates with mental and medical health issues (‘Phase III’) in a sustainably constitutional manner,” Hodge’s attorneys wrote. “On June 5, 2020, the City of New Orleans (‘City’) unilaterally and without notice to the Court or the other parties halted the progress on Phase III by suspending the services of the architect. In doing so, the City ran afoul of at least two of this Court’s orders.”

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