Posted: Apr 5, 2013 4:01 PM
Updated: Apr 5, 2013 4:19 PM
NEW ORLEANS, LA - An inmate with a gun in a cell packed with prisoners.
Another shooting up heroin all caught on video -- on a cell phone smuggled into the jail.
Inmates, free to roam. Even leave.
"This ain't Girls Gone Wild. No it's not. This Orleans Parish Prison gone wild."
This incredible footage was shown in federal court in a lawsuit over how to pay for fixing horrifying prison conditions.
"No gloves on. This is where the food at. Right by the shower."
The footage is several years old and was recorded at the now-closed house of detention in Orleans Parish. The Southern Poverty Law Center says this facility was not alone, many others just as bad in orleans parish are still open.
They, along with several former inmates sued the sheriff, Marlin Guzman, last April. He's in charge of running the jails.
As shocking as it is to watch this video, reading the details in the lawsuit are just as disturbing.
Mental health patients denied care. Inmates beaten by staff and raped by other prisoners.
Guards instigating fights.
This father lost his 32-year-old son to suicide in the prison two years ago.
"Hearing some of the testimony and looking at some of the video of the jail itself. I cannot imagine the conditions of any human being, living in those conditions."
The Southern Poverty Law Center and Sheriffs office reached a settlement in December. It was agreed that changes would be made to make the prisons more safe. But change costs money, money the city says it doesn't have.That's why the case is still in court.
The city's mayor says taxpayers are already investing more than 200 million dollars to build new facilities.
"I cannot in good conscience cut vital services or raise taxes to put even more money into an office where waste, fraud, and abuse run rampant."
Instead, he wants the federal government to step in and take control from the sheriff.
"He's been aware of these conditions since 2008 and the conditions have gotten worse."
"All of this takes us back to a disaster that the new orleans area just can't seem to fully recover from-- Hurricane Katrina.
In a statement the sheriff said these were temporary facilities he was forced use after the storm flooded parish prisons.
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