Criminal justice reform could improve public safety while saving Louisiana hundreds of millions of dollars. That was the message delivered at Tuesday’s breakfast briefing jointly hosted by Right on Crime, Smart on Crime Louisiana, U.S. Justice Action Network, and the Pelican Institute for Public Policy. The participating organizations all work to promote data-driven, fiscally-sound solutions to criminal justice reform. The event was held for legislators and business leaders.

With over one hundred people in attendance, the event featured well-regarded frontrunners like Right On Crime signatory, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. The featured leaders discussed what’s ahead for criminal justice reform in the Pelican State, the issue being that outcomes for the current system are far too low for a prison upkeep bill that sits at roughly $700 million.

“Criminal justice reform is a fundamentally conservative idea—keeping the cost of government in check, while helping rehabilitated inmates re-enter society so they’re not permanently dependent on taxpayer dollars,” said Perkins. “Throughout the South, conservative legislators have partnered with churches and faith-based groups to improve lives and public safety, and to save taxpayer dollars.”

Leaders on the reform front like Perkins continuously cite the savings involved with hopes of sparking business leaders’ interests. After all, who better to pitch “more bang for your buck” to than a business owner? For the sake of state budgets, ears at the legislature should also be listening. Data-driven recommendations made by the bipartisan Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Taskforce suggest a total of $300 million of taxpayer dollars could be spared over a 10 year period if the legislature allows the proposed criminal justice reforms to pass. Founder of Smart on Crime Louisiana, James M. “Jay” Lapeyre Jr said it well, “Louisiana cannot continue investing in its unique formula of high incarceration, high costs, and high recidivism when we know reform laws with proven results have been implemented in 33 states since 2007.”

The Criminal Justice Reform Breakfast Briefing was held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tuesday April 18th. Photos were provided by Michael Saltsman with Berman and Company.