The Facts


Fig. 1

Louisiana has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world.

In 2005, on the eve of Hurricane Katrina, the local incarceration rate was more than five times the national average and there were 6,300 people inside Orleans Parish Prison. For the last 12 years, New Orleans has incarcerated more of its own than any other city in the country. Today, one in 86 adult Louisianians is incarcerated.


Incarceration rate

Louisiana had the highest imprisonment rate for persons of all ages in 2015 (776 per 100,000 state residents) and adults (1,019 prisoners per 100,000 state residents age 18 or older)
— Bureau of Justice Statistics


Fig. 2

Incarceration ≠ Conviction

OPP is a jail—not a prison. This distinction is significant. The United States and many nations throughout history have established a Presumption of Innocence. That is, one is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

However, nearly 90% of New Orleanians confined inside OPP have not been tried or convicted. Most are simply too poor to pay their fines and fees.


Most people in OPP have not been tried or convicted


Fig. 3

We have the resources for a safer jail.

A federal consent decree mandates that the City and Sheriff address issues such as "use of force, investigations of serious incidents, [and] prevention of prison rape". The Safety & Justice Challenge directs $4.7 million towards reducing the jail population by 27%. 


Safety & Justice Challenge Funding



Further Reading