Dear friends and colleagues,

Beginning from the first incarnation of Orleans Parish Prison in 1721 by Bienville at Jackson Square to its current iteration under federal court supervision, the form and function of the jail has changed.

Today, The Data Center is releasing the first in our series of essays we are calling The New Orleans Prosperity Index: Tricentennial Collection. The first essay, The Impact of 300 Years of Jail Conditions, is contributed by Andrea Armstrong of Loyola University.

Written accounts from the 1800s to present describe dangerous, unsanitary, and torturous conditions for Orleans parish detainees. As recently as 2013, Judge Africk described the conditions in the jail as “an indelible stain on the community.”

Unearthing the history of the New Orleans jail and its relationship with the city, this essay discusses new solutions that include the voices of the impacted communities. As we chart a new course for criminal justice in New Orleans, structural reform of jail conditions will be key to a more equitable and prosperous future for the city. 
Bringing you the data you need to make informed decisions,
The Data Center Team
Erica Amrine, Keisha Smith, Allison Plyer, Dabne Whitemore, Lamar Gardere, Rachel Weinstein, and Bernardo Espinosa

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