The sheriff's and district attorney's offices in New Orleans are defending their recording of some conversations between inmates and their lawyers as a security measure, despite criticism that it violates attorney-client privilege.

The sheriff's office says calls from inmates to land line numbers can be made privately, and the jail has seven rooms available for confidential attorney-client meetings. It says calls to land lines aid jail security because authorities can detect if a third party is listening in, a capability they don't have with calls to cell phones.

Court Watch Nola, which criticized the practice in its annual report, denies that third parties can be detected either way.

A prosecutor's spokesman said confidentiality doesn't apply because inmates and lawyers are warned that calls to cellphones can be monitored and recorded.