A Louisiana sheriff is voicing his opposition to criminal justice reform laws due to go into effect next month.
KSLA reports that Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator expressed his concerns regarding the Justice Reinvestment Act, comprised of 10 bills passed by the state’s legislature that were signed into law by Gov. John Bel Edwards in June. The act, slated to go into effect Nov. 1, is intended to fix Louisiana’s reputation as the most imprisoned state in the nation.
According to Prator, the act provides the early release of thousands of inmates statewide, and he noted that 192 felons will be released early in his jurisdiction under the new law.
“There’s ways and things that need to be reformed on the criminal justice system, but certainly we don’t need to do what we’re about to do,” said Prator. “The Legislature and the Governor have made a huge mistake. Many of those scheduled to be released have not been properly vetted and are a danger to our safety and property. Seasoned multiple offenders are getting a break at our expense.”
According to a practitioners’ guide for the act, Justice Reinvestment reform was designed by state officials to yield a 10-to-12 percent reduction in the prison population and save Louisiana approximately $262 million over the next decade.
Gov. Edwards signed the legislation into law hoping to change Louisiana’s reputation as the most imprisoned state in the country.
In a statement released following a news conference, Prator noted that “only one law enforcement officer served on the Justice Reinvestment Task Force.”
Prator, who has been a law enforcement office for more than 44 years, admitted that some reforms may be in order, but releasing offenders isn’t one of them.
“Simply put, the State of Louisiana is risking our safety for bragging rights and to save money,” he said.
Prator also provided a list of 33 inmates slated to be released on Nov. 1. and said some of them did not qualify for release until 2025. Their charges range from DWI, theft, illegal possession of a firearm, possession with intent to distribute marijuana and aggravated flight.
“I assure you we will continue our relentless pursuit of justice by arresting those who seek to harm or steal from the productive citizens of Caddo Parish,” he said.
It’s amazing how some members of law enforcement would rather see people locked up for nonviolent offenses than given a second chance.
Respect to the state of Louisiana for prioritizing criminal justice reform.