There were several gatherings at the state capitol in Baton Rouge last week. Former legislators gathered for their annual reunion to catch up on old friendships and reminisce about past legislative accomplishments. And the few living delegates from the 1973 Louisiana Constitutional Convention were honored for their service as talk of a new convention was being debated in the capitol halls. One theme ran through both gatherings. Why aren’t problems being solved? Why so little cooperation? Where is the vision?
For the second year in a row, Louisiana has ranked last in the U.S. News and World Report state ranking. It is a poor ranking that is very well deserved.
The study focused on 77 different areas in eight major categories, such as crime. Unfortunately, in this area, Louisiana does not compare very favorably. Our state is a very violent one with the highest incarceration rate in the nation. Last year, a criminal justice reform package was signed by Governor John Bel Edwards. The ostensible reason for the legislation was to reduce the incarceration rate. Thus, 1900 “non-violent” offenders were released in November of 2017. Not surprisingly in the span of a few weeks, 76 of these prisoners were arrested again. Their victims would not have been targeted if these criminals were kept in prison.