LA has highest incarceration rate

POSTED: Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - 2:32pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:57pm

One out of every 55 adults in Louisiana is behind bars.

"LA unfortunately has held that position for 3-4-5 years," said James LeBlanc, Secretary Dept. of Corrections.

Secretary for the Department of Corrections James LeBlanc says the majority of these inmates are repeat offenders.

"Eating our system up can't get out it's what percentage are on this merry go round...about 60-70 percent of our prison population."

"That's even more scary honestly because that person gets back out again and that worries me,” said Dustin Mabile.

LeBlanc says the high numbers stem from a number of socio-economic problems the bayou state has been facing for years.

"Drop out rate is 15,000 a year...in this state we take 15,000 in a year and that's not coincidental, said LeBlanc.

The average cost to keep an inmate behind bars is 40 bucks a day. But for the non-violent inmates who are on parole and probation, it's a little over two dollars.

With the rising costs of incarceration, some states are trying to reduce prison spending by implementing community based programs. These allow inmates charged with non-violent crimes the chance to be on parole and probation.LeBlanc says unfortunately for Louisiana, its department isn't prepared for these types of programs just yet.

"I don't feel comfortable that if I release people at the low end at this point it would be good for our community,"said LeBlanc.