Criminal Justice
 

Council to consider alternatives to jailing municipal defendants

The New Orleans City Council’s Criminal Justice Committee has provided public notice of its next meeting, apparently having re-read the state’s open-meetings law.

The public was not invited to the last meeting of the group, where key jail issues were discussed. But this week, the meeting and an agenda are posted clearly on the city’s website.

The group will meet Wednesday to discuss changes to the Municipal Court system aimed at reducing the number of people jailed for minor offenses.

Initiatives on the table include:

  • a state misdemeanor initiative to let the city attorney to prosecute municipal offenses instead of the District Attorney’s Office
  • expanding the use of tickets by the New Orleans Police Department
  • developing a non-criminal response to public intoxication such as a detox or sobering center
  • reclassification of municipal offenses as non-criminal, civil infractions
  • and changing how the Municipal Court is funded — other than through defendant fines and fees.
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