2.5.24 – News Radio 710 KEEL– SHREVEPORT, LA
Louisiana lawmakers will be back in Baton Rouge later this month for a special session on crime. The session begins on February 19 and runs to March 6.
A transition team has been working on a laundry list of measures to bring before lawmakers later this month. This list comes from recommendations from that panel.
What Areas Will Lawmakers Address?
Transparency for the Public
The panel is recommending updating our data system to make access to information easier.
1. Allow the public, including law enforcement, to easily access information in the criminal justice system by identifying ways to enhance data collection and dissemination.
2. Create a juvenile justice system that no longer hides crucial information from victims
and the public on crimes of violence and second or more offenses.
What Is the Plan for Truth in Sentencing?
1. Simplify calculations for good time by mandating the amount of time criminals must
serve. Providing victims, criminals, and the public with the convict’s prison release date
should be done on the day of sentencing.
2. Eliminate good time earned during pre-adjudication. Correcting the system should help alleviate the current clogging of local jails, expedite judicial proceedings, and reduce our State’s exposure to liability.
3. Revamp the parole system. Rather than allowing offenders into communities based
upon promises of good behavior under minimal supervision, criminals should have a
more structured setting to transition back to society.
How Can We Change Pre-Trial Reform?
1. Implement a range for bail based on the crime and require judges to list reasons for
deviating from that schedule. Judges should have to justify to the public why they
implement low bonds for violent and repeat offenders.
What Is the Plan for Offender Rehabilitation?
1. Change the current system of entitlement to one that encourages offenders to make
meaningful reforms to earn early release. Offenders should complete effective
programs that set them up for success in society.
2. Greatly expand drug courts. Drug courts in Louisiana have proven their ability to break the cycle of incarceration.
1. Amend the Constitution to allow for common-sense modifications to the bail system.
2. Overhaul process to prevent re-traumatizing victims with repetitive pardon and parole
3. Eliminate “Street Credit” and Earned Compliance Credits.
4. Revoke bond and detain offenders when arrested for a felony or other violent crime
while out on probation or parole.
5. Return to the previous procedures for making victims whole. Victims should not have to go through a lengthy civil procedure for redintegration simply because their offender
made a few on-time payments; the onus should be on the criminal, not the victims.
1. Correct the age at which someone can be charged as an adult for committing crimes.
2. Ensure OJJ applies meaningful classifications so the tiered system can be implemented as soon as possible.
3. Sentence juveniles to time necessary for the corrections process to work by mandating penalties for certain crimes. to lead them down the path of being productive members of society.
4. Allow judges to bring justice to hardened juveniles in the corrections system. Criminals who act violently within juvenile facilities should have their crimes made transferable to adult court.
5. Direct OJJ to implement a corrections model that includes probation and parole versus the current therapeutic approach.
1. Strengthen protections for law enforcement officers legally performing their jobs.
2. Implement financial incentives that attract applicants to a career in law enforcement
and corrections. Easing the financial burden on agencies hiring new officers will help
with recruitment and retention.
3. Explore avenues to adequately fund regional crime labs.
1. Order a complete review of all programs offered by the DPS&C to eliminate
unsuccessful programs. For example, reallocate DPS&C funds for redundant Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts to address the correctional officer staffing crisis.
2. Explore bringing OJJ back under DPS&C. A thorough review should be conducted to
determine if DPS is once again best suited to provide stability and continuity to OJJ operations.
3. Identify ways to better structure and fund the public defender system.
Governor Jeff Landry will be presenting his package of bills to lawmakers and says this session will be more about the victims of crime rather than the criminals.