Faith based organization gathers at the Capitol: rallying about mass incarceration rate

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Louisiana Politics

POSTED: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 5:44pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 6:10pm

A faith based group came together to express their concern about our staggering mass incarceration rate in the state.

"Truth is told they actually make it hard for you,” said Mark Walters. ”They make it a revolving cycle for us to go back in and I just don't agree with that."

Mark Walters wants change and he's not the only one looking to do something about Louisiana’s staggering incarceration rate.

PICOU Louisiana is made up of religious leaders from all over Louisiana and they showed up at the Louisiana State Capitol Tuesday to do just that and for good reason. Louisiana has more people in jail than anywhere else in the world!

Mark Walters Jr. is a cook and a mechanic but what you don't know is how he got to where he is now.

"I know it from the inside."

He knows what its like to be locked up. I know how people feel when they come out of jail the trials and the challenges that you face when you come out.

The struggle for these people is real, and now Walters is trying to ease that struggle for everyone else that's been in his position.

“It causes a domino effect and I feel real strongly about that that everyone deserves a second chance," noted Walters.

The focus of PICO Louisiana is Louisiana’s mass incarceration rate.

“In the world, we incarcerate more people than other nations and it’s not because of crime its because of an unfair system," said Bishop E. Rene Soule.

At the Capitol, three bills deal directly with this problem.

“Ban the box bill is something were looking at. We’re trying to give judges more leniency so they don’t have to put people in jail for the mandatory amount of time,” said Rabbi Ethan Lindin from Shir Chadash in Meterie, LA. “We’re trying to reclassify marijuana possession as a misdemeanor not a felony."

Even though Walters eased back into society, not everyone is as lucky.

“Give time according to the crime."

The 3 bills dealing with the incarceration rate will be heard this session.

"Ban the box" is sparking a lot of interest and discussion across the state. We will keep you updated about what happens in session.

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