Contextual information since 1970 regarding the issues OPPRC is advocating for:


June 25, 1970- Hamilton v. Schirro – at a plaintiff’s hearing for a preliminary and permanent injunction on Orleans Parish Prison, the judge of the District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana noted that conditions in the system were “a shock to the conscious.” Deficiencies included: overcrowdedness, dilapidated structure, as well as infestation by rats, mice, roaches and vermin.


Litigation on prisoner-guard in Orleans Parish Prison resulted in a writ of supervisory mandamus to the Middle District of Louisiana for all issues concerning inmate population and supervision.


January  22, 1992- plaintiffs represented by the ACLU National Prison Project filed suit against Orleans Parish Prison.


November 22, 1993- A result of litigation against Sheriff Foti for medical care and mental health conditions in OPP, Foti enters into an environmental consent decree.


December 21, 1994- A new action involving female inmates was initiated.  The suit eventually included all inmates and extended consent decrees on medical, issues, the psychiatric program, as well as remaining issues from the 93’ decree.

March, 1994- State and Sheriffs execute an agreement called “Basic Jail Guidelines” in order to ensure that Louisiana prisons and jails operate in accordance with the U.S. Constitution.


October 14, 1997- Sherrif Foti enters into consent decree for eventually housing 300 youths in the corrections system at the Conchetta Facility of Orleans Parish Prison, despite a cap of 150.  The only reason he housed any youths was as a favor to the mayor in 1986. The Youth Studies Center could not house 10 inmates.  From 10 youth inmates the number rose to 300. Needless to say Conchetta was not fit for youth inmates.  Thus a decree was created that set up divisions by classifications.  The decree enumerated that youth inmates have space for recreation and education.  It also required programming and that the sheriff not impose any of his own requirements on the youth inmates.

And then OPPRC was formed…


September 2004- A group of organizers and activists collaborate to create a Nine Point Platform to reform and change the conditions at Orleans Parish Prison.  This platform is supplemented by reports that engage in why such reform was/is necessary.


September 22,  2005 — Human Rights Watch reports that OPP prisoners were abandoned during Hurricane Katrina.


August 10th, 2006- ACLU releases Abandoned & Abused: Orleans Parish Prisoners in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina, documenting the experiences of thousands of men, women and children who were abandoned at Orleans Parish Prison (OPP) in the days after the storm.


Orleans Parish Prison ranks in top ten jails with highest mortality rate (12 deaths in 2007-2008), according to Bureau of Justice Statistics data.

June 23-27, August 18-20, and November 17-20, 2008- US Department of Justice conducted on-site inspections at OPP with expert consultations in corrections, use of force, custodial medical and mental health care, and sanitation.


September 21, 2009 – Department of Justice releases a report on its investigation of OPP, claiming that conditions there violate the constitutional rights of inmates.

January 5, 2009- Cayne Miceli dies in OPP after spending four hours in five point restraints


November 11, 2010 OPPRC hosts second of two public comment forums regarding OPP expansion plans at Dryades YMCA at 2220 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.

November 8, 2010 OPPRC hosts public comment forum regarding OPP expansion plans at MLK School, 1617 Caffin,

Oct 4, 2010 –ACLU releases its report In For a Penny: The Rise of America’s New Debtors’ Prisons which includes a section specifically looking at incarceration in New Orleans

September 2010 – Mayor Landrieu convenes a Criminal Justice Working Groupestablished by executive order and asked to work at coming up with a recommendation on the size of the new parish jail.

September 2010 –Hundreds of people contribute $22.39 (the daily–per diem–cost to incarcerate one person in the jail) toward the cost of a full page ad in the Times Picayune, calling on the Mayor and City Council to stop funding a huge jail and shift funds to other priorities.

July, 2010- City Council establishes a working group to look into land use application related to a new Orleans Parish Prison Building

May 6, 2010- 10th death in OPP in two years – David O’Neal dies of heart attack after complaints of chest pain


November 29, 2011  OPPRC holds press conference and delivers a petition to adopt 2 key reforms: Limit the size of the Orleans Parish Prison to 1438 beds and End the “per diem” budget system.  See reports on and video of the press conference here and here, and read about Mayor Landrieu’s response here.

October 1, 2011 OPPRC hosts second community forum regarding conditions at Orleans Parish Prison at Treme Community Center, with Department of Justice representatives in attendance.

September 20, 2011 OPPRC hosts community forum regarding conditions at Orleans Parish Prison at Mahalia Jackson Community Center & School.  Department of Justice representatives are present.

September 2011  OPPRC launches public education campaign with billboard on Interstate 10

February 3, 2011- City Council passes an ordinance to build a 1,438-bed jail.  The ordinance includes a requirement that all current buildings must be decommissioned and demolished after completion of the new facility.


November 30, 2012 – New Orleans City Council passes city budget that continues to utilize the per-diem system to fund jail operations.

June 22, 2012 — The Lens reports that the Sheriff and City officials were having “quiet discussions” about building an additional jail facility to house 600 inmates.

June 7-8, 2012 Urban Congress to End Criminalization of our Communities Now! held in New Orleans—OPPRC charges Mayor Landrieu and other city leaders with “blood on their hands” from deaths in the jail, and demands an immediate release of all municipal non-violent offenders, people who would be released if a category 3 hurricane entered the Gulf.  Watch video from the Congress here.

May 2012- The Times Picayune launches the first of an eight part series on Mass Incarceration and the Prison Industrial Complex in Louisiana called Lousiana Incarcerated.

April 24, 2012 The Micah Project holds a community meeting where Deputy Mayor Andrew Kopplin, Sheriff Marlin Gusman, and a representative from Councilwoman Susan Guidry’s office all publicly pledged support for the 1438 cap. Read news coverage here andhere.

April 10, 2012 Under pressure from OPPRC, DOJ and others, the Sheriff announces that the Orleans Parish Prison House of Detention will be shut down.  The closure is completedon May 4, 2012.

March 26, 2012.  U.S. Marshals Service removes all of the agency’s federal inmates from Orleans Parish Prison because of conditions there.


May 31, 2013.  OPPRC presents Mayor Landrieu with a letter urging him to declare OPP a state of emergency and evacuate OPP now! See news coverage here and here

April 18, 2013  OPPRC releases statement:  Mayor Plays Political Games at Our Peril.

April 1-4 2013   Fairness Hearing over the terms of the Consent Decree in United States District Court  See a report on closing arguments here, the Lens’ blogging from the hearing here, and commentary by OPPRC’s Pam Nath here.

March 28, 2013  Mayor Landrieu calls emergency City Council hearing to discuss his concerns re: the cost of the consent decrees.

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