Vitter makes criminal sentencing an issue in governor's race
BATON ROUGE - Republican candidate David Vitter has made efforts to rework criminal sentencing laws a flashpoint in Louisiana's governor's race.
Vitter is running a TV ad saying his Democratic opponent John Bel Edwards wants to release "dangerous thugs" from prison. He ties Edwards to President Barack Obama, who has championed efforts to lessen penalties for nonviolent drug offenders.
While Vitter is attempting to frame the issue as Republican vs. Democrat, it hasn't been a partisan debate in Louisiana or Washington.
Louisiana efforts to reduce sentences for nonviolent, non-sex offenders have been backed by Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature and Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration, trying to cut prison costs in a state with the nation's highest incarceration rate.
Congress also is considering a bipartisan effort to shrink sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.