US judge: Apparent suicide drives home need for training at dangerous New Orleans jail

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NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge says the apparent suicide of a New Orleans jail inmate this week demonstrates the need for more training of staff at the dangerous lockup.

U.S. District Judge Lance Africk's comments came Thursday morning during a hearing on court-ordered reforms at Orleans Parish Prison, where an inmate is believed to have strangled himself with a telephone cord late Monday.

Africk presides over implementation of a 2013 jail reform plan. Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman, who runs the jail, is in a protracted legal fight with Mayor Mitch Landrieu's administration over jail funding.

The city recently objected to a contract the sheriff signed with a company providing jail health services. City officials agreed Thursday to make payments for the contract, but under protest while its objection is pending.

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