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Prominent Louisiana Business Leaders Push for Criminal Justice Reform

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Today, Smart on Crime Louisiana, Right On Crime, and the Pelican Institute for Public Policy released a new video making the business case for criminal justice reform in Louisiana. The video features state business leaders James M. “Jay” Lapeyre Jr. and John Finan Jr. and is being heavily promoted online throughout Louisiana.

As the Legislature debates the recommendations of the bipartisan Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Task Force, Lapeyre and Finan are urging lawmakers to approve the data-driven reform package that would save the state $300 million over a 10-year period while improving public safety.

“This is a conservative-led reform and business organizations are committed to it,” Lapeyre says in the video.

“We’re spending scarce dollars that we really don’t have on a system that is ineffective and inefficient,” explains Finan. “We’re learning from the experience of our neighboring states and the facts are undeniable.”

A number of Louisiana’s Southern neighbors continue to reap the financial and public safety benefits of criminal justice reform. Since passing reforms in 2010, South Carolina’s imprisonment and crime rate have fallen by 16 percent. Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Mississippi have experienced similar results.

“The important thing is to stay the course and do what’s right for Louisiana—not worry about the political opposition,” says Lapeyre.

Formed in 2014, Smart on Crime Louisiana is a coalition of Louisiana business leaders and conservative organizations, including Right on Crime Louisiana. Right on Crime is a national initiative that has transformed the debate on criminal justice reform in 34 states and advocated for data-driven, fiscally-sound justice policies in the Pelican State. The Pelican Institute is a nonpartisan research and educational organization—a think tank—and the leading voice for free markets in Louisiana.

To view the coalition website, click here.