The goal is to reduce the state’s highest-in-the-nation incarceration rate. Louisiana has the highest per capita incarceration rate in the country with 816 people in prison for every 100,000 residents.
The Package is poised to depopulate state prisons by 10% over the next 10 years, saving hundreds of millions in corrections spending. Those savings will be reinvested in public safety programs.
Corrections Secretary James LeBlanc said, “We need to find a better way to do things. That’s what this is all about.”
But some district attorneys and sheriffs, such as Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator, are leery about the program.
LeBlanc maintains that the state is prepared for the transitions. He says that before any release inmates complete 50 to 100 hours of programs teaching them how to secure housing and jobs.
“This is not some kind of mass exodus of inmates just going out into the open. Risk assessments will look at prior arrests, maybe something they’ve been arrested for but not convicted for. All that plays a role in their level of supervision when they get out,” LeBlanc said.
For probation and parole officers, the Department of Corrections has received a $500,000 grant to cover overtime costs.