City Council Next Step for Phase 3 Psychiatric Jail Facility’s Zoning Change

Mid-City New Orleans Jail” by pasa47 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Despite an outpouring of pushback from members of OPPRC and many others, the City Council will soon debate a zoning change needed for the $51 million psychiatric and special needs jail that was federally mandated as part of the Consent Decree and will be operated by Sheriff Marlin Gusman. Though the City Planning Commission (CPC) did not recommend approval of Zoning Docket 071/21 at their October 12, 2021 meeting, nor did they reject it.

OPPRC has long opposed the project and has been lobbying for a retrofit of existing jail facilities rather than new construction. CPC member Kathleen Lunn strongly supported OPPRC’s position. “This is not a conditional use that will improve our City’s conditions. It will be detrimental to us,” said Lunn.

In a statement released after the CPC vote, OPPRC said that although the vote wasn’t everything they hoped for, they were encouraged by the Commission recognition that recommending a larger jail complex in New Orleans would hurt the fabric of our community. “The Phase 3 psychiatric jail proposal is now being sent to the New Orleans City Council without support from the CPC, this decision is now fully up to the New Orleans City Council, and we urge them to listen to the needs of the people they represent, both those on the inside and outside of the jail’s walls.”

OPPRC Executive Director Sade Dumas said in her public comment “When I ponder on what I desire to see more of in my community, I think of things like affordable housing, schools, and diverse businesses. But there are some cases when I know that the proposal is dangerous and harmful for the community.”

More than 25 pages of public comments opposing the jail’s construction were presented at the CPC meeting.

Editors note: An earlier version of this story stated that Sheriff Gusman proposed the jail, but is actually set to operate it.

Help Keep Big Easy Magazine Alive

Hey guys!

Covid-19 is challenging the way we conduct business. As small businesses suffer economic losses, they aren’t able to spend money advertising.

Please donate today to help us sustain local independent journalism and allow us to continue to offer subscription-free coverage of progressive issues.

Thank you,
Scott Ploof
Big Easy Magazine

Share this Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *