Judge orders city and sheriff to pay $210,000 for jail monitoring

Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman and the city of New Orleans must each put up $105,000 to pay outside experts to oversee initial implementation of a lengthy consent decree mandating a host of changes at Orleans Parish Prison, a federal judge ruled.

The $210,000 will cover the monitoring costs through the end of the year, U.S. District Judge Lance Africk said in an order issued Thursday.

The judge signed off on the makeup of a team of experts to watch over implementation of the decree, which requires Gusman to change many aspects of how he runs a jail often criticized for insufficient staffing, rampant violence, and inadequate medical and mental-health care.

Africk reiterated in his order that he expects the city and sheriff to come to an agreement about how to pay for initial implementation of the decree, which many expect to result in increased staffing at the jail. He gave the two sides until Sept. 23 to send him their resolution on the funding issue.

The bigger issue of how to pay for running the jail going forward — and exactly how many prisoners the jail should be able to hold — is expected to be hashed out in coming months.

Africk also has been holding hearings about how much money Gusman needs to properly run the jail.