FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                            

Contact: Morgan Wampold

P: 985-377-7437




NEW ORLEANS, La. (Sept. 17, 2019) —  The following is a statement from Daniel Erspamer, chief executive officer of the Pelican Institute for Public Policy (Pelican Institute), regarding the recent criticisms of criminal justice reforms by Republican elected leaders and candidates.

“It’s disappointing to see elected officials and candidates for office using criminal justice reforms in disingenuous attacks and political ploys. From the beginning, these policies represented a rare instance of bipartisanship. They served as a place for everyone from across the political spectrum and communities across Louisiana, including business, law enforcement, faith, policy and good government leaders, to come together.

Today’s political debate offers far too few areas of consensus, and misleading scare tactics only further undercut opportunities for meaningful debate and discussion. The 2017 criminal justice reforms, passed by bipartisan majorities, were based on proven policies from other conservative, southern states. States like Texas and Georgia have seen demonstrably improved public safety, decreased rates of recidivism and saved taxpayer dollars thanks to similar reforms, and so far, early data points to the same potential successes in Louisiana.

It’s important to keep in mind that recidivism is always calculated by including only those convicted of crimes, not those that have been arrested without having their day in court. Our justice system is based on a presumption of innocence until guilt is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and claiming otherwise runs contrary to the principles upon which the system was built. In fact, it’s fundamentally un-American to presume the guilt of any person facing arrest.

Disingenuous attacks on vital reforms like these should not be left unanswered. We call on everyone engaged in the policy debate to stick to facts, explore the real data and promote it rather than relying on anecdotal evidence and emotional appeals. Safeguarding the future of Louisiana is too important to risk on political footballs and demagoguery.”

 About Pelican Institute

The Pelican Institute is a nonpartisan research and educational organization – a think tank – and the leading voice for free markets in Louisiana. The Institute’s mission is to conduct research and analysis that advances sound policies based on free enterprise, individual liberty, and constitutionally-limited government. For more information, visit or follow Pelican Institute on Facebook and Twitter.