New Orleans

Why the upcoming election for sheriff matters – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-11-24 10:15:00 –

I’ve heard how people aren’t participating in elections because the system is broken and they conclude that voting isn’t a problem. Outflows in particular often have a nicely low turnout. But don’t leave it to you when it comes to the December 11th Orleans Parish Sheriff’s final vote.

As for the operation of the sheriff’s office and its greatest function, the city prison, yes, the system is certainly broken. But that’s exactly why your vote is so important.

In a city where federal double-consent decree has been going on for nearly a decade and corruption is a constant threat, sheriff elections may not seem like a major opportunity for change. But in contrast to the cynics, this election could decide whether the city would take a big step on the long, slow, and stopping path towards good governance, especially when it comes to security and justice. The cynics have gone as far as offering a series of myths to make people believe that reform is out of reach and the status quo is inevitable. Get rid of some of the big ones.

Myth 1: “Phase III is a completed transaction.” Taxpayers will have to cough $ 180 million over the next decade to build and operate a prison expansion known as Phase III. ..

this is The biggest problem of separating candidatesTherefore, it is important to know that this is 100 percent wrong.Consent decree brought to Resolve years of unconstitutionality According to the sheriff’s office, prisoners with serious mental health needs proper care. It does not indicate how the sheriff (paid by the city taxpayer) must achieve that care. surely, Federal courts are prohibited by federal law From imposing certain methods that require the construction of prisons. Under the city charter, only the city council can approve the construction of a new prison. Showed not to approve.. The council is ready to approve an alternative plan for the Cantrell administration to meet the needs of people with acute mental illness by remodeling the current prison.

Myth 2: People who commit crimes need to stay away from society, so they need more beds in prisons.

This ancient falsehood has been repeatedly trotting since 2011, when the former mayor and city council rejected the sheriff’s proposal to build. New prison with 5,800 beds.. Since then, we have reduced the number of people in prison and at the same time reduced crime. In fact, most people in prison are not even suspected of committing a serious violent crime. And because of the growing commitment not to trap people who don’t threaten public safety, there are 500 empty beds in 1,438 prisons.

Myth 3: The situation in prison cannot be changed. Because confining people in harsh conditions is necessary to hold them accountable.

NS prison It’s not a prison. Everyone in prison is legally innocent. This is not just a legal issue. For anyone who believes in the rule of law, it is a slap to punish people, whether severe or not, before they are guilty. In any case, what the current prison leadership must provide — continuous violence, Prevalence of drugs And weapons, inadequate medical care during a pandemic, Detainees are detained 23 hours a day — Even those convicted of crime will be inhumane and illegal punishment.

Myth 4: Prison performance is not a matter of who is in the office. It’s a matter of money.

Sufficient prison funds are needed, but not enough to secure properly operated facilities. Taxpayers have tripled the city’s funding to prisons over the past decade, while community supporters have won a change that has reduced the number of imprisoned people by two-thirds. And sheriffs are now demanding an additional $ 8 million for the amount taxpayers have spent this year. Nearly $ 3 million more than Mayor LaToya Cantrell It offers. This huge additional investment made little difference. The prison is under federal court scrutiny and there is no end to it. Throwing more money on the problem doesn’t fix it. Better leadership will do so.

The biggest myth of all is that it doesn’t just matter who the sheriff is. Those who care about how taxes are used, how people with mental illness are treated, or whether our criminal justice system continues to fail (federal courts continue to oversee them). Anyone should carefully study what both candidates offer and go out and choose your next sheriff.

Jon Wool is a former founding director of the Vera Institute of Justice in New Orleans.

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