Job a provision under reform agreement
Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman has announced that Michael A. Tidwell will be the new chief corrections deputy for the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Tidwell, who spent the last six years as chief of corrections in Orange County, Fla., was selected from among 30 applicants for the position.
Tidwell’s new job is a required provision in the court-enforced jail reform agreement that was accepted by Gusman, inmate advocates and the U.S. Department of Justice in December.
Gusman made the selection along with the help of a seven-member selection committee led by Michael Cowen, head of the Crime Coalition.
The committee narrowed the pool of applicants from 30 down to five before eventually settling on two finalists: Tidwell and Cathy Fontenot, assistant warden of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.
Gusman said both Tidwell and Fontenot visited New Orleans for interviews with the sheriff and his staff.
Tidwell will be in charge of providing analysis and review of the operations of the jail, which some experts have described as one of the worst in the nation.
Tidwell began his law enforcement career in 1971 as a deputy marshal with the U.S. Marshals Service.
“Mike Tidwell is an accomplished jail administrator who has implemented substantial improvements at correctional facilities that follow the direct supervision model,” Gusman said about the decision.