1. If you build it they will fill it.
Limiting the beds pressures all the actors in the criminal justice system (judges, police, the Council, the District Attorney, the Mayor and the Sheriff) to implement reforms which lower the rate at which we lock up our people. It also means that funds for construction and maintenance could instead be used to create the infrastructure of a more caring and just community.
2. We already have more than enough beds.
To fill a 1,438 bed jail, New Orleans would still need to incarcerate at a rate of close to double the national average in a state that already incarcerates more people, per capita, than any other place in the world.
A recent report from the Vera Institute of Justice in New Orleans found that we have more than enough jail beds.
3. New Orleans has made significant progress in decarcerating our city.
On the eve of Hurricane Katrina, there were over 6,000 people incarcerated at OPP. Reducing the number of beds in OPP has pushed all actors of the criminal justice system to rethink their practices, and New Orleans’ incarceration rate has declined significantly