Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards released Louisiana’s Justice Reinvestment Reforms 2019 Annual Performance Report, which shows Louisiana has saved more than $12 million because of these reforms – twice what was projected.
“This report provides a comprehensive review of data on the historic reform efforts thus far, and the results continue to be promising,” said Gov. Edwards. “Louisiana is no longer the incarceration capital of the nation, we have saved over $12 million which is more than double what was projected and are reinvesting those dollars into programs that are helping to reduce recidivism, improve public safety and support crime victims. Everything we have put in place is based on data-driven policies that are successful in other southern states and are now having the same impacts in our state. It is still early in this process and there are more lessons to learn and more challenges to meet, but we are taking significant steps toward improving our criminal justice system.”
Significant takeaways include:
Prior to the passage of the Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) legislation, Louisiana was leading the nation in imprisonment, with a rate nearly double the national average. The State was also sending people to prison for nonviolent offenses at 1.5 to 3 times the rate of other Southern states with similar crime rates. The policy choices that led to this situation were costing the state nearly $700 million annually on corrections. Despite this investment, one in three inmates released from prison returned there within three years.
Following lessons learned from successful criminal justice reform efforts in other Southern states as well as the best available research, Louisiana developed a comprehensive, data-driven and bipartisan plan. This was designed to steer people convicted of less serious crimes away from prison, strengthen alternatives to incarceration, reduce prison terms for those who can be safely supervised in the community, and remove barriers to successful reentry.
Additional background and details about the initial implementation of the Justice Reinvestment legislation, and additional performance data is included in the full report.
To read the report, click here.