Re-entry bills part of bipartisan push for prison overhaul
BATON ROUGE - State legislators and advocates are spearheading a bipartisan push to lower Louisiana's leading incarceration rate.
Baton Rouge Reps. Patricia Smith, a Democrat, and Rick Edmonds, a Republican, say they are confident legislators across the political spectrum will support their efforts to lower recidivism.
Three proposals aimed at easing prisoners' re-entry into society are scheduled for House debate next week and were touted by prison reform advocates Thursday.
The bills would give former inmates certificates of employability, seek to encourage more mentors for prisoners and create additional re-entry courts for increased inmate programming and rehabilitation.
Smith says more than 15,000 prisoners are released each year. Louisiana spends $600 million on corrections annually.
Gov. John Bel Edwards hasn't taken a position on the bills.