It’s one of those things we have trouble understanding. Why is it Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman continues to take so much criticism for all that is wrong at the Orleans Parish Prison. As the consent decree that will outline a myriad of changes and improvements at OPSO is ironed out, one thing is clear—nothing can be done without money and Gusman’s office doesn’t have any. Already, it relies on the per diem it receives from various agencies as well as the city for each prisoner it holds on their behalves.
Have there been historical problems with the operations at the parish prison? Yes, in fact, they long predate Gusman’s election to the position as sheriff.
As the current sheriff, is it his ultimate responsibility to ensure that the prison is run as effectively, efficiently and most of all safely as possible within the constraints as defined by available human and financial resources? Certainly.
Still, it seems as if he is taking way more than his share of heat, and we wonder why? As one of only two Black city-wide elected officials, we are certain that Gusman is a prime target for those who would rather see his job go the way of practically every other city-wide post formerly occupied by African Americans in New Orleans. So do we think there are some all too happy to capitalize on and even generate opportunities to disparage Gusman if it means they chip away at his credibility and standing as an elected official? Yes, that’s what we think. We’re not fooled by it, and we’re tired of it.
There are many things in this city that need to be fixed and improved for the better.
Here at The Tribune, we say we get about the business of fixing what is wrong for the sake of our city and its residents while pushing politics and pretenses aside.