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.
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