What Does Criminal Justice Reform Mean For Louisiana?

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Louisiana passed and enacted a Justice Reinvestment Package,¬†what was modeled on successful reforms in other states that have demonstrably improved public safety, reduced crime and recidivism, and also saved taxpayer money at the same time. Recently,¬†these reforms have been in the news across the state, so we wanted to provide some clarification regarding what the reforms are – and aren’t – and why they are important to our state.

Louisiana’s Criminal Justice Problem

Prior to these reforms, Louisiana spent more than $700 million annually on corrections, had an imprisonment rate of nearly double the national average (in fact, the highest in the country), and sent non-violent offenders to prison at three times the rate of neighboring states.

What Was Achieved

The legislation that was passed is aimed at a reduction in prison population of 10% and savings of $262 million over the next decade. That is a very conservative estimate.
70% of the savings, amounting to around $184 million, are earmarked for reinvestment in policies and programs that are proven to reduce recidivism and support crime victims. Additionally, a reduction in community supervision of 12% was enacted in order to make caseload sizes more manageable for probation and parole.
louisiana criminal justice reform, prison population

Outcomes For Louisiana

The legislation was focused on a few key aspects of justice reinvestment and criminal justice reform. Among the more important outcomes for Louisiana:

  • Focus prison beds on those who pose a serious threat to society
  • Strengthen community supervision
  • Clear away barriers to reentry
  • Reinvest a substantial portion of savings

Ultimately, all of these things are good for Louisiana.