incarceration rate

Sue Lincoln

Louisiana’s business and industry community says it’s supporting the efforts to reform the state’s criminal justice system. 

“If we can get more people into that workforce somehow, devising those ways to move them from where they aren’t being productive to where they can be productive, it too is part of the big issue in terms of the budget,” Mike Olivier with the Committee of 100 says.


courtesy: The Rouge Collection

How did Louisiana end up with the world’s highest incarceration rate? Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre says it grew out of the late 1980’s national political emphasis on “law and order.”

“The prison population grew exponentially and it became, quite candidly, a cottage industry/prison industrial complex of housing people that were sentenced to jail,” Webre explains.  “And the Louisiana legislature passed laws that the judges enforced.”

Sue Lincoln

“It wasn’t easy, having to come back in society, with having to adjust myself to the real world after spending 35 years in prison.”

Reginald is in his 60s, and was sentenced to 121 years for armed robbery and attempted murder. Now, he’s out on parole, participating in an intensive reentry program through what’s known as a “day reporting center”.


Mark Carroll

What does the “world’s highest incarceration rate” really mean?

“It feels oftentimes that as DAs and judges we are flipping hamburgers because the volume that we have,” says East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore.

It also means that more than 5 out of every 10-thousand residents are in jail, at a cost of $600-million per year. And it means Louisiana desperately needs major criminal justice reform.

Suing for the Defense

Feb 7, 2017
SPLC video "Injustice"

“Everybody needs somebody to fight for them, and just because I’m poor doesn’t mean I need to be treated any different,” says Joseph Allen.

He one of the plaintiffs in a class-action suit against Governor John Bel Edwards and the Louisiana Indigent Defender Board, filed Monday in state District Court in Baton Rouge. It is challenging the way the state funds public defenders.


U.S. Justice Action Reform Network

Governor John Bel Edwards, in Washington Thursday to lobby the lame duck Congress for more flood aid for the state, didn’t equivocate while participating in the U.S. Justice Action Network’s Google Summit on Criminal Justice Reform.


Sue Lincoln

The Louisiana Association of Business and Industry convened a summit Thursday to start tackling one of the state’s less desirable statistics.


npr.org

“I guess we all know by now that Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the nation.”

And that’s what prompted a new performance audit by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor, looking for the reasons why. Karen LeBlanc with the auditor’s office told a state senate committee they examined data from the Department of Corrections for the years 2009 through 2015.


Media Commons

Louisiana’s incarceration rate is the highest in the world, and costs the state $600-million a year. So how do we change that?

“Nobody’s trying to get murderers and rapists and armed robbers out of jail,” Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson advises. “We’re talking about alternatives to incarceration for low-level offenders.”

Yet Louisiana is one of only two states that allows criminal convictions by less than a unanimous jury. (The other is Oregon.)

Media Commons

Usually “We’re Number One” is something to brag about, but in this case, it’s not a stellar statistic.

“The United States leads the world in the number of people we incarcerate, and Louisiana leads the country. We are number one in the nation in the number of people we lock up,” Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson advised the legislature recently.

But what does that mean, in overall numbers?

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