Almost 60,000 people passed through Orleans Parish Prison in the last twelve months, a staggering figure for a city of this size. The average length of stay was 20 days. The largest portion of pre-trial prisoners in the jail are there for nonviolent, municipal offenses that even under conservative standards should not warrant jail time, including 20,000 arrests this year for traffic violations. “New Orleans is basically the incarceration capitol of the world,” says Kaplan. “You’re hard-pressed to find a resident of New Orleans—especially in poor communities—that hasn’t had their lives disrupted in some way by this institution.”
A September 2009 report from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) found, “conditions at OPP violate the constitutional rights of inmates…a pattern and practice of unnecessary and inappropriate use of force by OPP correctional officers…several examples where OPP officers openly engaged in abusive and retaliatory conduct, which resulted in serious injuries to prisoners. In some instances, the investigation found, the officers’ conduct was so flagrant it clearly constituted calculated abuse.”
photo is undated. but here’s what was going on in 2005. and just recently.