Inmates inside the Orleans Justice Center in New Orleans have barricaded themselves inside a pod and have made a list of demands to improve their conditions.
The inmates’ long list of demands for prison officials includes, among other things, better food and medicine, more books, and a second TV to watch Saints games.
The inmates’ other demands include changing the alternating lockdown, and requests for a washer, dryer, and kiosk.
The office of Orleans Parish Sheriff Susan Hutson told Fox News the residents of the high-security pod, 2E, are refusing to enter their cells and comply with officers’ commands to remove barricades from entryways to their pod.
Hutson’s office said the inmates have been offered food and water as well as medication for inmates who need it, but these have been refused.
Hutson’s office said water access in pod 2E was revoked after the inmates placed the mixture near the entryways of the pod. Her office said the inmates also blocked the glass windows facing into the pod from the control modules where deputies secure the pod.
“Sheriff’s deputies are continuing to employ best practices to deescalate the situation. They are engaging in negotiations with the residents in the hopes of resolving this matter without the use of force,” Hutson’s office said. “So far, offers to resolve this matter have all been refused by the leaders of the protest.”
The inmates’ protest comes after the Orleans Justice Center reported multiple stabbings inside the facility’s pods in recent weeks. At least three of those stabbings happened in the pod where the inmates have barricaded themselves.
The sheriff’s office said OJC imposed the alternating lockdown schedule in response to those stabbings. Her office also said the requests for a washer, dryer and kiosk were likely due to residents breaking those machines to fashion weapons in the past.
Sheriff Susan Hutson said the rise in violence inside the center mirrors crime trends in New Orleans. In a statement earlier this month, Hutson said she had ordered enhanced security measures at OJC.
“I have instructed every person entering the jail to be screened using newly installed, state-of-the-art body scanners,” Huston said. “Additionally, security rounds have been increased and we have dramatically reduced the number of jail residents who are permitted to be out at any given time to help ensure the safety of both staff and residents.”
Hutson’s office said it will release video footage of the inmates in 2E supposedly dancing and playing board games, along with time-stamped still images over the past three days.