The so-called “per diem” approach — which effectively mandates a budget increase for housing more inmates — has been sharply criticized by groups such as the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition. And in 2011, City Councilwoman Susan Guidry called it a “perverse incentive to keep people in jail.” In prior year budget talks, including 2014, Gusman has asked to move to a traditional, preset budget allocation.Yay? Well maybe not. At the moment, all this means is that we no longer have any idea how the Sheriff's budget will be determined. The new thing could still be a "perverse an incentive" as ever to put people in jail. We just don't know what the formula is yet.
For 2015, the city is in fact using a traditional flat budgeted amount. What’s more, officials with Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office and the Sheriff’s Office confirmed, the city already stopped using the per diem formula this year.
“It happened,” Guidry told The Lens Monday. “The 2014 budget was the first one for the sheriff that was not per diem.”
However, it’s unclear when or how that happened. The city’s adopted 2014 budget appears to include the per diem funding scheme. And the only media report on the purported change came last summer, in a brief correction earlier this year on how the jail is funded in a NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune article.
Monday, October 27, 2014
So it turns out that the much maligned "per diem" system for funding Orleans Parish Prison operations, long the target of prison reform activists, has already been quietly shelved.