Retiring Orange County jail chief hired to run New Orleans jail

Updated:

NEW ORLEANS —

After abruptly announcing his retirement as Orange County jail chief earlier in the year, Michael Tidwell has accepted a new job.

The Orleans Parish sheriff announced Saturday that Tidwell has been hired to run New Orleans' only jail. A federal consent agreement requires Sheriff Marlin Gusman to hire a professional corrections administrator to bring the jail up to constitutional standards.

The agreement in December settled a lawsuit brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center and later joined by the Justice Department. The department reported last year that it found "alarming conditions" and persistently high rates of prisoner-on-prisoner violence and staff misconduct in the jail.

Tidwell has spent more than 30 years in corrections management, the last six as Orange County's corrections chief. Tidwell abruptly decided to retire from the position shortly after an investigation showed serious flaws in the jail's home confinement program.