This blog post was written by Jace Waechter, a Right on Crime research associate.
On November 18, the Louisiana Association Business and Industry (LABI) held a summit to address the state’s growing prison population. Currently, Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country, which has ballooned to twice the national average—with half of the prison population within the state being comprised of non-violent offenders. The primary concern facing the LABI is the barriers to business that such high incarceration rates present to the state. Former state Economic Development Secretary Michael Olivier noted that Louisiana graduates less than hundred-thousand high-school students per year, which is not enough to meet Louisiana’s workforce needs. Olivier states “this workforce challenge may be fulfilled from this incarcerated group.” During the summit, LABI recommended sentencing reform measures that reclassify which crimes require prison time, in addition to reducing recidivism among Louisiana’s prison population.