About 1,400 Convicts to be Released From Jail Due to New Law!

Starting November 1, 2017, inmates will be released to the parish where they were convicted. The 10 bills of the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment  Package should save the state approximately $265 million over 10 years by lowering state jail totals by roughly 10%. This is according to the secretary for the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Jimmy Le Blanc.

This is big. It’s a new day in Louisiana. When Governor John Bel Edwards offered this package it garnered bipartisan support. Many faith and business communities backed this bill also. For the last few decades, the legislature and the governor have seen eye to eye about prisoners. The longer the sentence, the better. It turns out that is a very expensive proposition, and way too expensive for a legislature that hates to spend money period.

Act 280 states that when a violent offender completes 35% of his/her sentence, the convict is eligible for parole. Up to this point, the standard has been 40%.

This is big. It’s a new day in Louisiana. When Governor John Bel Edwards offered this package it garnered bipartisan support. Many faith and business communities backed this bill also. Historically, Louisiana locks people up, and throws away the key. Now, they are letting inmates out of the pokey? Why is this happening? One major factor is cost. Running jails is an expensive proposition, but the cost to the inmates family is immense. The further away an inmate is from his family and the longer his sentence, the worse the family and inmate do.

There are very immediate concerns. No system has been instituted to handle this new flow of inmates coming out of jail. Corrections officials are very circumspect when releasing inmates. The absolute one thing that can never occur is the wrong inmate is released.

Louisiana Act 280 states that when a violent offender completes 35% of his/her sentence, the convict is eligible for parole. Up to this point, the standard has been 40%. Le Blanc has said that when an inmate serving a 10 year sentence would be getting out an average of 63 days early. Gee whiz. That’s not much of a reduction.

Steve Prator, Caddo Parish Sheriff, disagrees with early release. During a recent news conference, he brought up a name on the list, a man who had been arrested 52 times for dozens of crimes, including manslaughter, and was getting out seven years early. The real question is, how long has he been in jail and how is his rehabilitation (if any) going? If he is doing well, let him out. If not, keep him locked up.

Secretary James M. Le Blanc has worked for the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections for more than 40 years. He has served the past nine years as Secretary, being appointed to the Cabinet position by two governors.

Le Blanc enlisted in the United States Army and served during the Vietnam War. After an honorable discharge in 1971, he returned to school and received a B.A. in Business Administration from Southeastern Louisiana University in December 1972.

Jimmy Le Blanc

His career in corrections began in 1973 at Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women. Le Blanc promoted through the ranks, serving as Undersecretary (1992-1995), interim Director of Probation and Parole (1998-1999), Warden at Dixon Correctional Institute for 12 years, and Acting Chief of Operations (2007).

Secretary Le Blanc’s commitment to Louisiana’s justice system includes a focus on the fundamental importance of public safety while giving all citizens the opportunity to live productive lives. He routinely emphasizes “reentry” as a major factor of the Department’s mission. Reentry is his passion. Le Blanc believes that establishing valuable, real-world vocational, educational and life skills training for offenders in all institutions is one of the keys to ensuring the core mission of public safety. Reducing Louisiana’s number one (in the world) incarceration rate is a tall order, but Le Blanc’s enthusiasm for seeing offenders succeed is all the motivation this leader needs.

His many awards include being selected as the National Association of Wardens and Superintendents (NAAWS) “Warden of the Year.”

In my opinion, Le Blanc and the Governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, are certainly doing the right thing here. The tip of my proverbial hat to both gentlemen, and the Louisiana legislature.

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~ by neworleansmusicman on October 25, 2017.

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