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Lawmakers, community leaders brainstorm ways to lessen prison population

Lawmakers, community leaders brainstorm ways to lessen prison population
Photo provided by MGN Online.
Louisiana Politics

POSTED: Friday, April 19, 2013 - 6:40pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 - 10:48am

Louisiana has one of the highest percentages of inmates in the country and some people say it's a problem that needs to be addressed.

"We're releasing as many as we're putting in," observed Representative Dalton Honore.

Donna Jackson said her son was one of those. In and out of jail for mistakes made in his teen years he is now struggling with life after jail.

"He been out (of jail) for a long time now and he went straight to college right after it. He's very polite, very intelligent. He wants to work with kids. He wants to be a social worker," Jackson said.

Jackson and others from the community are hoping to see laws passed this session that will help cut down on the inmate population.

"Anyone can be rehabilitated given the right time and treatment. But when you go back in to the same society you left too it's virtually impossible to be rehabilitated. So this is why we keep the prisons overcrowded," Honore continued.

Representative Honore has authored a bill he hopes will cut down on overcrowding, by allowing more good time credit for non-violent offenders. District Attorney Hillar Moore commented that overcrowding may be a problem but he is not sure giving shorter sentences is the answer.

"Now to come back after the fact and change the sentence. The victims would come back and say, 'hey I thought you told me he was going to serve X amount of time,'” Moore said, “my only question would be being honest with the victims of crime.”

There are several bills being brought through the process that deal with jail time and punishment. One includes allowing felons to vote while on parole, another would allow a one year sentence reduction for certain non-violent drug crimes if they agreed to participate in a drug rehab program.

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