KANE: How Louisiana Can Get Smart On Crime

Conservatives in other states have blazed a trail that we can follow
Louisiana has the nation’s highest rate of incarceration. This is costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars in increased corrections expenditures, to say nothing of the incalculable social costs. The fact that so many young men and women are behind bars also exacerbates the state’s growing labor shortage.

Many other states have been taking steps to reduce prison populations without compromising public safety. Notably, conservative states like Texas and Georgia have begun to steer nonviolent offenders away from prison, emphasize rehabilitation over jail time, and reduce penalties for many drug and property crimes.

These reforms are receiving broad support across the nation. The business community is playing an increasingly important role in this trend, and a statewide consortium of business, religious and civic organizations are now committed to developing a more just and sustainable criminal justice system here in Louisiana.

The Smart on Crime campaign seeks to apply relevant lessons from other states to Louisiana. Reforms that lead to fewer nonviolent offenders being incarcerated will save the state millions of dollars and, if a portion of that savings is invested in alternatives to incarceration, increase the likelihood that ex-offenders can successfully rejoin society. Listed below are bills that have been filed in the state legislature that would advance these goals and therefore improve public safety in Louisiana…

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