Cautious optimism from judge in Orleans jail reform case

June 08, 2017 - 10:29 am
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(AP) _ A federal judge is expressing confidence that efforts to reform the New Orleans jail are ``on the right track.''
 
But U.S. District Judge Lance Africk also said improvements will take time and, in his words, ``future tragedies and tears are inevitable.''
 
Africk spoke during a status hearing on reforms ordered in 2013.
 
Progress on those reforms has been slow, even after prisoners were moved into a modern new facility in September 2015; and, after hundreds were farmed out to other facilities while a new director works to improve staffing and training.
 
A report last month by experts assigned to monitor the jail said it remains violent and dangerous.
 
Troubling incidents included last October's suicide by a 15-year-old murder suspect. Another inmate suicide was reported last month.

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