Over the course of a number of years, Louisiana has captured a ranking no state should want. #1 in terms of per capita incarceration of its citizens. This statistics has been the basis for many articles over the last few years and thankfully we may soon see the ranking slip. This is due to the efforts of a bipartisan coalition focused on ensuring Louisiana’s criminal justice system is geared towards being “Smart on Crime”. Elaine Ellerbe at Louisiana Right on Crime explains it well.

The reforms are expected to reduce the overall prison population by 10% with savings in the $262 million range over the next ten years.  70% of the realized savings –estimated at $184 million—will be reinvested into evidence based programs and policies that reduce recidivism and better support victims of crime.  Additionally, the community supervision population is projected to decrease by 12%, allowing probation and parole caseloads to be more manageable for law enforcement officers and more effective in rehabilitating released offenders.

The passage of these criminal justice reforms was made possible thanks to a vastly diverse group of bi-partisan stakeholders. The state saw everyone from law enforcement and court practitioners, to prison and probation & parole agencies – even business, community, and faith leaders – all come together to advocate for reforms that are smart on crime.

This is a good summation of the issue. Read it in full. Louisiana will be making improvements as these laws come into effect, but we still have a long way to go. Want to keep up with the latest goings-on concerning criminal justice reform efforts in Louisiana? Check out Smart On Crime – Louisiana.