The vote follows the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition’s months-long push to ban the use of the chemical weapon and years of advocating against jail expansion.
New Orleans, LA, September 17, 2020—The Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition (OPPRC) has put out the following statement after today’s City Council meeting, where council members unanimously voted to ban the use of tear gas against protesters in addition to unanimously voting to in favor of a resolution in support of the proposed alternative jail retrofit plan to halt the construction of an additional Phase III jail facility:
“We are encouraged by the New Orleans City Council’s unanimous passing of the ordinance banning the use of tear gas against protestors. While OPPRC’s close work with Council members Jay H. Banks and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Louisiana on the ordinance is crucial, the New Orleans Police Department must now work to ensure its updated policy reflects community input and goes beyond the protections presented in this ordinance. NOPD’s policy development process must be transparent and include the greater New Orleans community ahead of finalizing the ordinance in order to include necessary amendments if needed.”
Today’s City Council meeting also included a vote on the alternative jail retrofit plan to halt the construction of an additional Phase III jail facility, of which 6-0 council members voted in favor of the resolution.
“City Council has chosen to stand with the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition (OPPRC) and the people of New Orleans by unanimously passing the resolution supporting the retrofit plan as an alternative to Phase III jail expansion. We’re encouraged to see our elected leaders listening to the needs of the people while committing to supporting community care over jail expansion. Opposing forces and federal judges must now follow suit and support the cheaper and ethical retrofit option that offers a constitutional solution for people with mental illness on an even faster timeline than the proposed Phase III plans.”
Federal Judge Lance M. Africk and Magistrate Michael B. North will make a ruling based on the city’s submission of the alternative retrofit option this October 5th.
About the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition (OPPRC)
The Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition is a diverse, grassroots coalition of individuals and organizations from across New Orleans who have come together to shrink the size of the jail and improve the conditions of confinement for those held in detention in Orleans Parish. Founded in 2004, OPPRC members include community activists, lawyers, service providers, organizers, formerly incarcerated people, and their family members.
Visit opprcnola.org for more information.