Appel said there are “Twenty or so bills that will be filed or have been filed dealing with criminal justice reform. He said “it's a very complex complicated situation--if all the bills were passed the projection is Louisiana would save about three hundred million dollars over ten years so that's somewhere you know it's been projected between 15 and 30 million per year”
Appel said that the promise is that about fifty percent of that money would then flow back into projects dealing with preventing criminals from returning to crime. The Senator has his concerns however, whether that amount of money is enough but also if that money will simply go back into the general fund at some time in the future and “it will be subject to appropriations like every …pot of money in the general fund”.
Appel said further that his major issue is “public safety”. He said the sheriffs, business community, the governor all have different perspectives but that his own rule of thumb is, regardless how much money it saves, is, whether we are turning back a bunch of criminals onto the streets. He said he will not support legislation that unless he is “assured and I have some guarantees that we're just not turning loose a bunch of criminals frankly that have spent some time in jail and they just going to go back out and reoffend and causes problems”
The Senator said that public safety is the over-arching measure of anything that we do. The Republican said that he is optimistic that they can solve the problem and that there are good people on all sides of the issue, but it must be “public safety first” to get his support.
Watch more of this segment of the interview