timberland online store Dozens of Orleans Parish inmates make new claims of violence
Nearly 30 inmates in the Orleans Parish jail have claimed a pattern of violent abuse behind bars, including stabbings, beatings and rapes that they say deputies routinely ignore. The declarations, grim in their allegations of brutality and neglect, arose in a court filing aimed at persuading a federal judge to approve a consent decree for reforms to a jail facility notorious for beat downs, suicides and escapes.
Jared Walker claims an inmate broke his face when he moved a cup outside the shower, and that jail staff dismissed his requests for medication.
“At the beginning of December, I was asleep on my rack in Conchetta when someone stabbed me in the face and ear,” wrote Terry Rothschild.” After doctors at the hospital treated my stab wounds, officers put me in the hole.”
“I saw one guy recently who had staples in his head from a stabbing,” wrote Tyrone Scarborough. “The guards are barely ever around.”
One man described getting raped, writing that he was knocked unconscious in the shower.
“I blacked out for a little and when I came back to consciousness I was lying on my stomach on the floor of the shower,” he wrote. “I could feel one guy holding my feet apart and another guy was on top of me holding down my shoulders. I was completely naked. Then I felt pressure and excruciating pain.”
Some inmates fashion shanks from the metal toes of Timberland boots, one inmate wrote.
“There is no place safe in this jail,” inmate Nicholas Miorana wrote.
The sworn statements were at the heart of legal filings made Thursday by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which last year filed a federal civil rights lawsuit last year against Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s office. Department of Justice joined the lawsuit last fall. In the meantime, Gusman dragged the city into the legal fray last fall,
since state law requires the city to pay for inmate care.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office has balked at the possible $17 million price tag for the pending consent decree, which Africk has preliminarily approved.
Landrieu argues that Gusman has failed to show any proof that unconstitutional conditions in the jail if there are any require more money to fix. The city pays more than $30 million a year to Gusman’s office for inmate care and other expenses.
Africk has called a hearing for the first week in April to decide the issue. A later trial to determine adequate funding to meet the demands of the consent decree is scheduled for May.
Gusman conceded to the reform agreement in December, although he refused publicly to admit any unconstitutional conditions at the jail, which currently houses more than 2,600 inmates.
The new jail facility now under construction would house 1,438 inmates.
Justice Department investigators have criticized the jail facility for failing to address conditions they claim are rooted in systemic problems, including too few deputies on tiers, leading to inadequate supervision of inmates.
Among the other issues are the levels of violence between inmates and by guards and a lack of support for inmates who don’t speak English. Alford. “Everyone on the tier has knives.”‘
The Justice Department also repeatedly flagged deficiencies in mental health care, saying that the treatment of suicidal inmates is inhumane.
The agreement will require changes to rework suicide prevention practices, bolster medical care and offer translation services for inmates who don’t speak English, among other measures.
But the potential price tag is more than Landrieu wants to swallow. The mayor has tried in vain over the past month to shelve a separate federal consent decree governing the New Orleans Police Department, saying the combination of multi million dollar bills will cripple the city or force an unpalatable tax increase.
Katie Schwartzmann, managing attorney for the Louisiana office of the Southern Poverty Law Center, declined to comment on the filing.
Schwartzmann has disputed Landrieu’s claim that he was blindsided by the jail agreement, saying it’s been clear for years that the jail is deficient and that a consent decree was in the offing.
Landrieu, however, has said the same Justice Department officials who worked closely with the city on the police agreement turned around and reached a deal with Gusmn,
then slapped the city with the bill.