Policy Researchers Blast LA’s Incarceration Rate

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Public policy researchers are calling for an overhaul of Louisiana’s mandatory sentencing laws in a new report that blasts the state’s high incarceration rate as a status Louisiana can no longer afford. Experts from the Reason Foundation, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and the New Orleans-based Pelican Institute drafted the findings in an October white paper that has stirred mixed reaction among policymakers.

“This is the first step in a thousand mile journey,” says Norris Henderson, executive director of Voice of the Ex-Offender and a member of the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition. Henderson has pushed for reformed sentencing laws for decades and endured an almost three-decade stint in state prison due to a wrongful conviction. “Perhaps this report will provide political cover for those afraid to vote to reform sentencing laws in the state Legislature given that the proposals are coming from conservative groups.”

The Pelican Institute and the Texas foundation are right-leaning organizations that support reduced government expenditures and free market economies. The two groups view increased incarceration as a strain on state budgets and the accompanying laws that produce extended prison stays as unnecessary.

Read the full article at The Louisiana Weekly