SPLC lauds DOJ intervention in lawsuit over inhumane conditions in Orleans Parish Prison

The SPLC today welcomed the U.S. Department of Justice’s decision to intervene in an SPLC civil rights lawsuit challenging the brutality and inhumane conditions at the Orleans Parish Prison in New Orleans.

“We are pleased the Department of Justice is joining our legal effort to stop the gross neglect, sadistic rapes, and brutal beatings that continue to occur at Orleans Parish Prison under Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s watch,” said Katie Schwartzmann, managing attorney for the SPLC’s Louisiana office.

“We hope the sheriff will stand up and finally address the abusive and inhumane conditions that have plagued the jail for far too long.”

The SPLC filed the federal class action suit in April, charging that the sheriff’s indifference has allowed unconstitutional conditions to flourish at the prison. The lawsuit describes a facility where violence and widespread contraband – including knives and drugs – are the norm. It also notes the facility is understaffed, that deputies are poorly trained and supervised, and that staffers are often complicit in the abuses suffered by the prisoners.