Louisiana is known for the high crime rate in New Orleans and the nation’s highest incarceration rate, but policymakers in the state are determined to chart a new path that utilizes the full range of research-based corrections approaches to produce more public safety per taxpayer dollar spent.
In a March 2009 announcement regarding a plan for work release, day reporting centers, and reentry initiatives, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal stated:
“Without education, job skills, and other basic services, offenders are likely to repeat the same steps that brought them to jail in the first place. This not only affects the offender, but families and our communities as well. This is a problem that needs to be addressed head-on. We cannot say we are doing everything we can to keep our communities and our families safe if we are not addressing the high rate at which offenders are becoming repeat criminals. By implementing this re-entry program, we can curb the cycle of repeat offenders and thereby reduce the burden on our prisons and help offenders create a place in society that adds value to their lives while keeping our communities safe for our families.”i
In this announcement, Department of Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc noted that multiple state agencies must join with the private sector and faith-based communities so Louisiana “can hammer away at its dubious distinction of having the highest incarceration rate in the world.”ii
With the state facing a substantial budget deficit, policymakers are seeking to identify cost-effective ways to enhance public safety in Louisiana.
i Marc Levin, “What Conservatives Are Saying About Criminal Justice Reform,” Texas Public Policy Foundation, Jan. 2010, http://www.texaspolicy.com/pdf/2010-01-PP02-conservativesaresaying-ml.pdf.
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