Although New Orleans is no longer the national leader in incarceration, there is still much room for improvement in how we use our jail. One in seven people held in OPP has been assessed as low or low-moderate risk of committing a new crime or of failing to appear in court while on pretrial release. In the first quarter of 2016, over 600 people who were eventually released on probation or had their cases refused spent weeks in jail at great cost to them, their families, their community, and taxpayers. For those fortunate enough to make bond, it took an average of nine days to gather the funds needed to secure release. Black people were disproportionately affected by these unnecessary jail stays, as they were over-represented among those booked in jail and detained for lengthy periods of time. 

Because of this opportunity for further jail population reduction and with more beds than we have inmates, we do not need additional jail beds. Multiple efforts are ongoing in New Orleans to reduce the use of jail safely and sustainably and to tackle racial disparities. Through these efforts, experts have projected that the jail population not only can but will be reduced in the coming months and years.