(Baton Rouge, LA) Right On Crime is encouraged by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s (LLA) Report on the 2017 Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI), a comprehensive and bi-partisan criminal justice package of bills which steer people convicted of less serious crimes away from prison and help build stronger and safer communities.

“We urge Louisiana lawmakers to consider these findings, both the successes and areas that need improvement, as they move forward this week with the Special Session on crime,” said ROC Louisiana Director Scott Peyton. “There is nothing in the LLA report that suggests the JRI should be discontinued or dismantled. Instead, this report points to successes and areas for improvement.”

Successes examined in this report show that since the JRI implementations, the number of inmates in Lousiana prisons have decreased and the percentage of violent criminals increased, which the report states, “is in line with the JRI goal of focusing prison beds on those found to be serious threats to public safety.” Also, findings highlight that individuals who obtained jobs after release “in fields related to the career and technical education programs they participated in while incarcerated” saw success, however, an area for improvement would be to help create more program-related job opportunities.

Inmates released early did not appear to return to custody at a higher rate than the overall return rate, according to the report.  Data shows that recidivism numbers decreased compared to numbers prior to 2017, however those who did return, returned sooner than in previous years. Those with a violent felony offense in their criminal history “returned at a higher rate than those with only non-violent felony offenses,” according to the report. And, some findings note that the Louisiana Department of Corrections needs better data of performance outcomes for re-entry programs both inside their facilities and for those programs post-release.

“This report underscores the necessity of accountability and transparency in Louisiana,” said Peyton. “We can’t allow politics and short-term political wins to dismantle the good work being done by the 2017 JRI package. We have an opportunity to fix what needs improvement and to build on the successes which are clearly making a positive difference in our criminal justice system.”

Right On Crime is a national campaign of the Texas Public Policy Foundation supporting conservative solutions for reducing crime, restoring victims, reforming offenders, and lowering taxpayer costs. The movement was born in Texas in 2007 and has led the way in implementing conservative criminal justice initiatives across the nation. For more information, visit our website at www.RightOnCrime.com