Video: Makeshift jail

updated 9/8/2005 4:29:28 PM ET 2005-09-08T20:29:28
STORY

Buses aren't departing from the New Orleans station anytime soon.  Nor, are the visitors.

The city transformed the Greyhound Bus station into a make-shift jail after the Katrina-triggered flood water made other prisons uninhabitable.  It still looks like a regular bus station.  But law enforcement officials now bring all alleged criminals to the terminal for detention, known to some as Camp Greyhound.  Eventually, they get sent up north for further processing. 

One prison guard says the main goal is to get criminals off the streets.  "That was not happening because the wonderful police department and FBI and state police would arrest them, but what are they going to do?  Carry them around in their car?"

Don’t expect high security computer systems here.  A single padlock and a man with that shotgun keep watch over detainees.  Holding up to approximately 50 people, gate areas act as temporary holding cells, lined with barbed wire at the top.

Jailers went back to basics without the help of higher technology, wiped out after Hurricane Katrina: finger-printing, one telephone, minimal computers access powered by generators.

While prison officials continue to make due with limited resources, missing criminal records prove more challenging.  Three-fourths are underwater.  For people who committed lesser crimes, such as speeding, this doesn't work in their favor.

Until records can be retrieved, everyone in question will be held detained at prisons throughout Louisiana until the can retrieve the documents.

Dan Abrams reports live from New Orleans again tonight.  Watch the 'Abrams Report' for more analysis and interviews on the top legal stories each weeknight at 6 p.m. ET on MSNBC TV.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,