Kyle Loeber

Louisiana's Criminal Justice Reform Success Story

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Posted by Kyle Loeber on Wednesday, June 14th, 2017, 2:36 PM PERMALINK

Louisiana’s legislature has finally worked out a deal to address their enormous incarceration rate and mounting expenditures. The state’s correctional institutions have surpassed the point of diminishing returns with respects to its incarceration rate. This is causing a major headache for communities and taxpayers.

Working with the Sheriffs Association and District Attorneys Association, lawmakers in both the State House and Senate sent a complete overhaul of the criminal justice system to the governor for his signature this afternoon. Legislators constructed and finalized a comprehensive package before last Thursday’s deadline. Some notable achievements included in this reform range from decreasing the prison population by 10% to generating $78 million in taxpayer savings over the next decade.

Ideas for bipartisan justice reform have been tossed around in the last few years, but serious pushes have consistently been shot down as prison populations shot up. Louisiana is now confronting their highest-in-the-nation incarceration rate, alleviating the burden that communities have been increasingly marred by.

According to American Press, “the bills would reduce mandatory minimum sentences; expand parole eligibility; relieve inmates of financial burdens when they are released; and guarantee victim notification when inmates are considered for probation and parole.” Initiatives like these have been shown to improve reintegration into society and save money for taxpayers.

The passage of this package through both state chambers cements Louisiana as a leader in comprehensive criminal justice reform. Other states with growing deficits and prison populations should take note of work getting done to improve the lives of residents. Watch the bill signing ceremony here this afternoon.

 

Photo Credit:  Wikimedia

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Louisiana Passes Partial Justice Reform, Urged to Pass Full Package

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Posted by Kyle Loeber on Friday, June 2nd, 2017, 5:22 PM PERMALINK

This week, the Louisiana State Legislature passed a justice reform package that has garnered support from both sides of the isle. The ten bill package is a monument of collaborative efforts from not only legislators, but District Attorneys, law enforcement, and reform advocates. Louisiana’s Republican-led lawmakers systematically addressed concerns from all parties involved to create reform that is comprehensive and lasting. 

The legislation will have a major impact on Louisiana’s prison population and state budget, lowering the incarceration rate by 10% and saving an estimated $262 million in taxpayer dollars over the next decade. Lawmakers have assured the public that 70% of these funds will go back into rehabilitative programs for offenders to help them reintegrate into society instead of turning back to crime.

In addition to fiscal advantages, the reform package aligns Louisiana’s criminal justice system with the conservative approach that other states such as Texas, South Carolina, and Georgia have been implementing. These states have slashed costs while making neighborhoods safer, and Louisiana hopes to see the same success.

The bills passed on Wednesday will reduce penalties, expand parole opportunities, and overhaul structured sentencing. Courts will also have more flexibility when dealing with juvenile offenders, hopefully derailing the school-to-prison pipeline that many communities deal with every day. Efforts such as these have seen success across the country and Louisiana will be the latest state to reap the benefits.

Louisiana’s citizens have scored a major win with the passage of the ten bill reform package. However, there are still portions that are being debated in the State Legislature. With little time left in this session, Louisiana’s lawmakers must work out the details to these other bills that could alter the lives of non-violent offenders and potentially save tax payers even more money in the long run.

 

Photo Credit: Max Pixel

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