Monday, September 05, 2005

New Orleans Calamity: Oversights You Need to Know

Americans seem to agree day-two handling of New Orlean's Katrina response was pitiable compared with steps (see #7-9 in Best Practices). Natural disaster management criteria were available. Plans must be reviewed, approved, and refined at least annually, however. Formalized plans do not seem to have been submitted to the state of Louisiana or FEMA for professional review and approval. Was that even a requirement? The answers appear to be a big NO.

No citizen should expect or tolerate a repeat of such unpreparedness by highly-paid emergency management bureaucrats in FEMA or the each of our 50 states and major cities

Here are some thoughts that may have been overlooked by most. We may be many years from details like these even being considered in natural disaster preparations. However, the time to develope comprehensive plans with actual meat is critically overdue. Each of these points eventually needs consideration in future disaster management efforts and may require local answers even sooner:

Point One (Hat Tip to OSAPian): Jailed detainees were either evacuated or released into the general population. This included 1,393 registered sex offenders living within the pre-flood city limits. Most of them have been evacuated to God only knows where by now. We can assume keeping track of Big Easy perverts was not part of the bungled evacuation plans. It would be unfair to lambaste local and state officials for this: we can also safely assume identifying and keeping tabs on evacuated sex offenders is not a component of disaster protocols in American urban areas.

Point Two (Hat Tip to Scott Henson): Probably a graver public safety concern is that ALL of the evidence for pending state criminal cases, including robbery, rape, capital murder, judicial corruption, you name it, was flooded and lost. All those cases must be dropped, in all likelihood, and the defendants set free. (Vigilis emphasis)

Point Three (VIGILIS): When were detainees released? If prisoners and jailees were evacuated by the parish to safer locales while so many indigent fared (and failed) for themselves, what would that say about Mayor Ray Nagin’s leadership of his city?

Point Four (VIGILIS): If prisoners were merely let go into the remaining New Orleans population released without regard to their backgrounds and the dangers posed to the community, what does that say about opportunities for better planning in the future?

Point Five (VIGILIS): Finally, if detainees were not released until the water breached their cells, what would that say about Mayor Ray Nagin’s leadership of his city?


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At 05 September, 2005 20:48, Blogger OP said...

Outstanding post Vigilis. The concerns you bring up are very real and haven not yet been answered in the 24x7 MSM coverage of the disaster in New Orleans.

FYI, the reprobates I identified in my post were already living in the community (albeit as registered sex offenders) before the hurricane and fooding.

I have not recorded my worst fears concerning what was done with the jail and prison populations during what passed for an evacuation in New Orleans. I wouldn't be surprised if many prisoners were released into the chaos.

For years I have questioned if the evacuation plans at the prisons where I have been employed would work in an emergency. They won't.

There are two state prisons housing over 13,000 convicted felons between them at Corcoran, CA. There aren't enough prison buses in California to move that many inmates at one time. On top of that, there are four more prisons housing about 25,000 inmates within fifty miles of Corcoran.

There is no way we could move these prisoners if the entire civilian population of the area where also being evacuated. An evacuation of the prison would not be considered unless that were happening.

Faced with that, what would wardens do? We can be reasonably certain they would receive no orders from our clueless leaders in Sacramento.

How many police and highway patrol officers would stay on their posts ensuring an orderly civilian evacuation if they found out thousands of prison inmates had been released. I suspect most would leave to protect their families.

Anyway, your post is thought provoking and needed.

At 06 September, 2005 14:53, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Vigilis. Further proof that we need to look to the blogosphere for the info that the MSM can't (or won't) fit into the 24 hour news cycle.


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