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Inmates could get work release sooner

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Posted: Feb 20, 2014 5:23 PM by Troy Gaulden
Updated: Feb 20, 2014 6:12 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: inmates, prison, work release, Pat Smith, Hillar Moore, jail, legislature, laws

BATON ROUGE - Repeat offenders could get out of jail on work release six months earlier if a proposed bill passes through legislature this session.

Rep. Pat Smith, D-Baton Rouge, pre-filed the bill that would allow eligible habitual offenders to enter work release a year before their sentence is finished.

"I would hope that giving anyone an opportunity to work and make a little bit of money... gives them an opportunity to see what's happening on the outside, whether or not they can work at a job and how well they work at that job," she said.

East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore says he's skeptical about giving repeat offenders more chances.

"These guys have been given a lot of chances and now we're giving them another chance. I'm all for rehabilitation, but this is something we're really gonna have to study further," he said.

Currenly, inmates convicted of forcible rape and attempted murder can qualify for work release within six months of their release date. The pre-filed bill would not affect inmates convicted of those crimes.

"That's a part of the statute. That was there long before I got there. That gives those individuals also an opportunity to get out there and do work," said Smith.

Moore says district attorneys aren't fond of the law as it stands now, allowing convicted rapists and attempted murderers out on the streets.

"We're talking about some classes of people that have shown a propensity for violence, and I surely don't want them hurting other people while they're out or while they're out on work release," said Moore.

Legislators will discuss this bill when the legislative session begins March 10.

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