Caddo Sheriff Has a Strong Message for Louisiana Governor
With many cities in Louisiana facing spikes in violent crime, lawmakers passed a bill to rollback some of the provisions of the Justice Reinvestment Act. But Governor John Bel Edwards has vetoed a bill that called for change.
The Governor says Justice Reinvestment Act was passed in 2017 "with strong bipartisan support." He says those reforms adopted by lawmakers focused on non-violent offenders in an effort to "change Louisiana's status as the state with the highest incarceration rate in the country."
The Governor says this bill which was passed unanimously by the State Senate "would take us in the wrong direction."
This bill would change the good time reforms for offenders "convicted a fourth or subsequent time of a nonviolent felony offense."
This measure also called for no reduction of prison sentences for people convicted of a second offense crime of violence or if the instant offense is a sex offense
In some cases, the current good time law (passed in the justice reinvestment act) calls for a sentence reduction to just 25% of the actual sentence. The Governor wants to keep that measure in place despite calls from many law enforcement groups to keep criminals locked up.
Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator tells KEEL News this veto by the Governor is "incredibly disappointing."
In 2021, more than 3,200 people were locked up in Louisiana for a conviction of a 4th or subsequent nonviolent felony, with an average sentence length of 4.39 years. Under current law, these offenders would serve 25% of the sentence imposed, or 1.10 years. This new law passed would make these offenders serve 65% of the sentence, or 2.9 years.