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Report Finds OPP Violating Prisoner's Rights

Jails and PrisonsAmerican Civil Liberties UnionJustice SystemDeath

Inmates being abused and living in deplorable conditions….that's what the Department of Justice says is going on at Orleans Parish Prison.

The investigation was launched after the ACLU contacted the Department of Justice saying thousands of inmates were being abused. A report was issued Tuesday backing up the claims of the ACLU.

One of the findings in the report says inmates are not only beating each other, but that guards have been beating them as well. ACLU Director Marjorie Esman says she's not surprised, "We get complaints like that on a weekly basis, yes, prisoners who've been raped in prison, attacked and assaulted by other inmates, by the guards."

Sheriff Marlin Gusman says he disciplines every officer or inmate found breaking the rules. The report says the prison has inadequate mental health treatment and suicide prevention. Gusman says he's doing all he can. "Anyone who expresses suicidal ideations, we watch them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I put a deputy right in front of them, I don't know what more you can do" Gusman says.

In one case, a 43 year old man had to wait 22 days for a psychiatric evaluation. He ended up killing himself waiting on a doctor. Another finding: the jail is infested with rats, mice and insects. Gusman says it's simply not true…."Here's a stack of invoices stack of all of the payments that we've made to our exterminating company, had they done the research, had they looked into the details, we would've gladly given this to them, but I don't know who they're talking to."

One more disturbing claim, that the jail doesn't give basic information to inmates about what medications they're taking on a daily basis, or how much they should be taking.

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