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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76888 Find in a Library
Title: Part 2 Crimes - An Analysis of Municipal Offenses and Their Impact on the Criminal Justice System in New Orleans
Author(s): R H Brown; A C Richards
Corporate Author: New Orleans Mayor's Criminal Justice Coordinating Council
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 77
Sponsoring Agency: New Orleans Mayor's Criminal Justice Coordinating Council
New Orleans, LA 70130
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report documents the incidence of Part II, or misdemeanor, offenses in New Orleans during 1979 and examines their impact on the operations and resources of the police, the municipal court, the city attorney's office, and the House of Detention.
Abstract: In 1979, 75 percent of New Orleans' arrests were for misdemeanors such as thefts, assaults, family disturbances, forgery, drunkenness, gambling, and prostitution. The arresting process represents a considerable investment of police resources since the officer must transport the offender to a central facility for booking and then appear at arraignment and trial. Alcohol-related charges accounted for 23 percent of the 1979 arrests and cost $2.7 million, whereas resources devoted to major Index arrests totaled $2.9 million. In 1978, the 43,364 new charges filed in the Municipal Court for Orleans Parish, which is responsible for misdemeanors not triable by jury, were handled by 4 judges and a staff of about 50 persons. Because of the large caseload and limited staff, the court cannot adequately supervise probation, and violations frequently occur. During 1978, 25 percent of the court's cases were dismissed and 23 percent were nolle processed. Reliance on traditional sentencing options perpetuates large caseloads and contributes to jail overcrowding. The House of Detention/Central Lock-up has a capacity of 800 inmates and only provides the most basic services. The complex overcrowded and under increasing pressure to find additional space for overflow State offenders from the Orleans Parish Prison. A discussion of alternative responses to misdemeanant cases covers prearrest diversion through decriminalization and more defined policies regarding the limits of police discretion, the use of summons in lieu of arrest, pretrial diversion, dispute settlement centers, community service restitution, and rehabilitative programs. More alternatives to incarceration and better inmate services in local jails would improve the correctional situation. A plan is proposed to improve handling of misdemeanor offenders and free the resources of the police, courts, and detention facilities for more serious crimes. Tables, 29 notes, and 11 references are included.
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Caseloads; Correctional reform; Court delays; Court reform; Detention; Diversion programs; Louisiana; Misdemeanor; Municipal courts; Overcrowding; Police resource allocation; Pretrial programs
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