Kevin Kane Center for Opportunity Policy

Systemic poverty threatens human dignity, endangers families, and is fundamentally antithetical to the American experiment. Unfortunately, too many of our government policies in the areas of criminal justice reform, social safety nets, workforce development, and occupational licensure present barriers to economic mobility and block off pathways to opportunity.

The Kane Center honors the work and passions of the Institute’s founder, Kevin Kane, who launched Pelican in 2008. Under his leadership the Institute played a leading role in a variety of critical issues, most notably in criminal justice reform. Kevin was honored by the Louisiana State Legislature following the passage of the landmark 2017 Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which will free thousands of Louisianans from the damaging cycles of recidivism and help these individuals re-enter society and find work. The scope of work in the Kane Center builds on this critical achievement and expands its reach to many others trapped by government policy that too often blocks meaningful pursuit of work and opportunity.

Correcting Corrections: Louisiana Works to Fix Prisoner Overdetention

Correcting Corrections: Louisiana Works to Fix Prisoner Overdetention

The New York Times and Reuters recently reported a finding by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)  that the Louisiana Department of Corrections is detaining inmates well past their legal release date. In a statement, the DOJ says it “has concluded there is reasonable cause to believe that the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and...

By Jamie Tairov

Maintaining a Strong Police Force: The Crisis Governments Must Solve

Maintaining a Strong Police Force: The Crisis Governments Must Solve

Crime is a serious issue that demands thoughtful solutions to deter criminal behavior and promote public safety. Since the pandemic and protests, violent crime has been on the rise across the United States. During this turmoil, some have pushed the overcriminalization narrative too far by instituting no bail policies for violent offenders, releasing them back...

By Jamie Tairov

Despite Reforms, Louisiana Still the Most Licensed State in the Nation

Despite Reforms, Louisiana Still the Most Licensed State in the Nation

Occupational licensing is a government permission slip that is required to work in specific jobs. All states require licensing of certain occupations. Governments claim that these licenses are in place to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of consumers. However, many occupations, especially in the lower to middle-income range jobs, do no such thing. In...

By Jamie Tairov

New Crime Report and Improved Justice Rating

New Crime Report and Improved Justice Rating

This week the Pelican Institute for Public Policy released a report of crime data in Louisiana, adding important context to conversations about how to best address public safety and improve the justice system. The report was intended to aid policymakers in making decisions grounded in facts, data, and proven policies that increase public safety, reduce...

By Erin Bendily, Ph.D.

Five Year Anniversary of Criminal Justice Reform in Louisiana

Five Year Anniversary of Criminal Justice Reform in Louisiana

It’s been five years since the ten bills, colloquially known as criminal justice reform (CJR), passed the legislature and were implemented with bipartisan support. These new laws created alternatives to prison for non-violent offenders and programs to make the transition from prison back into society (known as reentry) more successful. Both had the goal of...

By Jamie Tairov

Choosing The Gatekeepers

Choosing The Gatekeepers

Louisiana once again finds itself atop yet another “naughty” list. Currently, Louisiana has the largest number of occupations regulated by boards on which private sector members are recommended by a trade association. Choosing the Gatekeepers: How Special Interests Control Licensing Board Nominations is a new report from Pacific Legal Foundation. The report considered seventeen occupations...

By Sarah Harbison

Tragedy for Children and Youth in State Care: It’s Not Just DCFS

Tragedy for Children and Youth in State Care: It’s Not Just DCFS

The Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ), which is charged with the rehabilitation of 13-18 year olds involved in the justice system, has been plagued with issues for years. The agency oversees youth incarcerated in secure care facilities, or jails, as well as youth that are housed in community or group homes. OJJ has four secure...

By Jamie Tairov

It’s Not All Roses with Louisiana Licensing Laws

It’s Not All Roses with Louisiana Licensing Laws

Nearly one third of American workers need an occupational license to do their jobs. Since the 1950s, the number of jobs requiring a license has increased five times, with most of the growth coming from an increase in the number of existing professions that now require a license that didn’t require one before. While licensing...

By Jamie Tairov

Louisiana’s New Occupational Licensing Laws: Brief Primer

Louisiana’s New Occupational Licensing Laws: Brief Primer

In Louisiana’s 2022 Louisiana legislative session, lawmakers passed and the governor signed into law three bills that remove barriers for people seeking occupational licenses. The new laws strengthen the ability of individuals to successfully challenge burdensome licensing regulations that hinder their ability to earn a living; help ex-offenders get licensed, back to work, and back...

By Erin Bendily, Ph.D.

Board of Veterinary Medicine: Saying Goodbye to Licensing Barriers

Board of Veterinary Medicine: Saying Goodbye to Licensing Barriers

During the 2022 session, the Pelican Institute supported legislation which eventually became Act 583, a law that promotes an easier path to work for Louisiana families. The bill, which advocates have called the Right to Earn a Living (RTEAL), limits regulations and requirements for licensure to only those that protect the health, safety, welfare, and...

By Jamie Tairov

Justice System Re-entry Reforms: Let’s Focus on Outcomes

Justice System Re-entry Reforms: Let’s Focus on Outcomes

On Wednesday, after nearly three years on hiatus, the Governor’s Justice Reinvestment Implementation Oversight Council finally held a meeting. The meeting’s primary purpose was to discuss the implementation of programs created as a result of the state’s criminal justice reforms enacted in 2017. Those reforms were passed to increase public safety and reduce recidivism, which...

By Jamie Tairov

Occupational Licensure: It’s Not Just Regulations That Are The Problem

Occupational Licensure: It’s Not Just Regulations That Are The Problem

The Pelican Institute has long advocated for increased freedom for Louisianans to work and pursue the American dream. In particular, we’ve called to reform government regulation and interference through occupational licensure – a form of government permission slips for individuals to work within a given profession – unless there exists significant risks to consumers or...

By Erin Bendily, Ph.D.