NEW ORLEANS — A former staffer in the New Orleans Public Defenders Office has been hired at the city jail to help identify inmates who can safely be released.

The Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, which operates the jail, announced the hiring Monday of Virginia B. Ryan as the jail’s Justice System Administrator.

The move is part of an effort funded by a MacArthur Foundation grant the city received in 2016 to help reduce the jail population by 21 percent by 2019.

Ryan, who holds a sociology degree from Loyola University-New Orleans, has worked with the Public Defender’s Office as a client advocate. A Sheriff’s Office news release says that, in addition to identifying inmates who can be safely released, she will be responsible for aiding inmates whose court proceedings are unduly delayed.

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