[JURIST] New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin [official website; Wikipedia profile] has requested that a portion of the $60 billion in disaster relief approved by Congress following Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive] be redirected to fund the city's court system, jail operations and other critical city functions. Nagin said the city of New Orleans' finances were severely strained and hinted that the city was close to bankruptcy. Earlier this month, lawyers acting on behalf of former New Orleans prisoners requested [JURIST report] that the US Justice Department assume direct supervision of a temporary holding facility amid complaints of prisoner abuse. Additionally, city officials have predicted that evidence in as many of 3,000 pending criminal cases [JURIST report] was lost during the storm. Reuters has more.