Pew Center to research, reform Louisiana prison system
BATON ROUGE – Louisiana’s criminal justice system is going to get a thorough examination by the Pew Center to help make it work more efficiently, and keep prisoners from re-offending.
Governor Bobby Jindal announced today that the Pew Center will research the state’s prisons and sentencing policies, and then help come up with reforms to make it work better.
“With this partnership we’ll have a better understanding of what policies work, and which ones won’t so we can do an even better job of decreasing recidivism in Louisiana,” said Gov. Jindal at today’s announcement.
The research will focus on what sends people to the state’s prisons, what drives the costs to the prison system and how Louisiana’s sentencing policies compare to the best practices in the nation. Though the research in Louisiana will continue the rest of the year, Jindal said he will have some bills and measures ready for this legislative session based on Pew’s recommendations.
A similar partnership in Texas helped stop prison growth and saved the state $500 million in the first year after residential treatment programs and alternative sentencing were put into practice.
In 2009, Louisiana had the highest rate of incarceration in the United States at 881 prisoners per 100,000 residents. The national average was 502 prisoners, and Mississippi was second at 702 prisoners.