Covering Louisiana

Apr 1, 2013 1:46 PM by AP

New Orleans in court over jail pact

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A former inmate's account of being severely beaten and raped at the New Orleans prison opened a federal court hearing on a proposal to reform the lockup.

That was followed by a prison consultant's testimony that such incidents are difficult to prevent, in part because the prison is badly understaffed.

The inmate said the attack took place over several hours one night in a section of a prison dormitory.

Monday's testimony came during a hearing on a proposed agreement between Sheriff Marlin Gusman, who operates the jail, and the U.S. Justice Department on improving jail conditions. The city of New Orleans, which funds the jail, is opposing the agreement, saying its cost could force cutbacks in police and other vital services.

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