Louisiana Political News Wire
EDITORIAL: Rising costs of corrections
We’re No. 1 in something, and that is the incarceration rate. About a third of Louisiana’s approximately 40,000 prisoners are nonviolent offenders, typically locked up for drug offenses.
“The annual cost is astronomical,” said Jim Maurin, a businessman who was a co-founder of Blueprint Louisiana. Specifically, about $670 million in the current fiscal year, “of which the vast majority is state general fund” dollars, the Blueprint agenda said. The business group included corrections reform in its agenda for saving money in the fiscal year 2012 budget that will be considered by the Legislature this spring.
Blueprint backed a stronger effort by a sentencing commission to evaluate mandatory sentences and see if there is more room for parole and community-based options. Medical parole for elder prisoners is among the ideas. Blueprint said alternative sentencing and other ideas are “less expensive and more effective in reducing recidivism when evidence-based practices are utilized.”
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