New Orleans prisoner barricade protest ends, Louisiana authorities say

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The New Orleans prisoners protest – in which inmates barricaded themselves inside a pod to plea for improved jail conditions – ended on Sunday, Louisiana authorities say.

Orleans Justice Center inmates organized on Friday to demand better conditions – including asking for better food and medicine, a washing machine, a dryer and a kiosk. The effort lasted throughout the weekend. 

Their demands also included entertainment requests, like books and a second TV to watch Saints games. The demonstration originated from the 2E pod, a high-security area. During the protests, residents refused to enter their cells and obey officers’ orders to remove barricades from entryways.

The office of Orleans Parish Sheriff Susan Hutson told Fox Digital that inmates were offered food, water and medication for those who needed it, but the prisoners refused help. 

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Orleans Justice Center inmates barricaded themselves in a cell to ask for better conditions.

Orleans Justice Center inmates barricaded themselves in a cell to ask for better conditions. (WVUE)

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To end the non-violent protest, the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Louisiana Department of Corrections conducted “a joint operation” on Sunday night, according to a press release obtained by WDSU. 

Authorities decided to enter the pod when inmates triggered the sprinkler system and put the pod at risk of flooding. Shortly after 8:30 p.m., six inmates were removed from the Orleans Justice Center and sent to a maximum-security facility. 

New Orleans prisoners asked for a washing machine, a dryer and a second TV, among other demands. 

New Orleans prisoners asked for a washing machine, a dryer and a second TV, among other demands.  (WVUE)

“Attempts by OPSO negotiators to defuse the situation were consistently rebuffed by resident leaders on the pod,” the statement read. The sheriff’s office said it took every opportunity to “deescalate the situation and not use force.” 

The protest came as the jail experienced multiple stabbings since late July. The protestors asked to change the alternating lockdown schedule, which the sheriff’s office said was put in place in response to the stabbings. 

The inmates held a weekend-long protest at Orleans Justice Center.

The inmates held a weekend-long protest at Orleans Justice Center. (WVUE)

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Sheriff Huston’s office also said that the washer, dryer and kiosk demands were probably in response to those machines being destroyed by inmates looking to fashion weapons from them in the past. 

Fox Digital’s Bradford Betz contributed to this report.