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Mid-Session Update: Criminal Justice Reform

Prior to each annual legislative session, One Acadiana (1A), working through our policy committees, releases a set of legislative priorities regarding the issues that enhance our regional economic competitiveness. The six major issue areas for 1A’s 2017 Legislative Priorities are: 1) fiscal reform, 2) transportation infrastructure, 3) workforce development, 4) public education, 5) criminal justice reform, and 6) economic development.

Criminal Justice Reform

Similar to our approach on transportation infrastructure, 1A supports efforts to maximize the State’s existing criminal justice resources while improving program outcomes.

Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the nation, with 816 out of every 100,000 Louisianans behind bars. We spend nearly $20,000 per year per inmate, costing more than $700 million to the state annually.

Joining with a broad coalition of partners across the state, we support efforts to reduce costs by reducing the overall prison population and to reinvest the savings in programs proven to improve public safety and employability skills.

Some of the cost-containing measures we support, which have passed their initial hearings, are SB 220 and 221 (Alario) and SB 139 (Martiny). We also support HB 489 (Leger), which provides the framework for how savings would be reinvested.

Several weeks of hard work remain until the Legislature finalizes the 2017 Regular Session on June 8. We would like to thank all 24 legislators from 1A’s nine-parish region for their service and leadership on behalf of the businesses and families of Acadiana.

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