Bart Everson has a great post about the follow up on the recent Crime March on City Hall. The comments by the legislative director for Councilwoman Shelly Midura are enlightening:
"[New Orleans] spends a third of our general fund on police and detention.
pre-katrina we had the 4th largest jail in america. we were averaging
over 100k arrests per year in a city of 460k people. we are number one
or two in the country, right there with nyc, in numbers of law
enforcement officers per capita. but despite hundreds of millions of
dollars, despite leading the world in incarceration, despite hundreds
of thousands of arrests, despite more law enforcement than anyone —
these policies have still failed to make us safer. our jail has grown
from a capacity of 850 in 1974 to a max capacity of 8500 by 2004,
despite a 25% decrease in the city’s population in that same time
frame. there has been no corresponding increase in public safety.
Sounds like we need radical reform, and have for quite awhile. People feel like the recent March raised some awareness and put heat on City Hall to take real action. But, will that happen? I’m skeptical. We had our chance to elect a new mayor last year and we blew it.