In June of 2016, Governor John Bel Edwards, Chief Justice Bernette J. Johnson, Senate President John A. Alario, and House Speaker Taylor F. Barras charged the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Task Force with developing a comprehensive set of data-driven recommendations to protect public safety while reducing the state’s corrections population and costs. James M. LeBlanc, Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, chairs the Task Force.
Made up of key members of the House and Senate, representatives of the executive branch and the courts, practitioners from the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, the Sheriffs’ Association, the District Attorneys’ Association, and the Public Defender Board, among others, the Task Force works to analyze the drivers of Louisiana’s high incarceration rate, review practices in other states and the best research in the field on what works to change criminal offending, and gather input from those who work on the front lines. In developing proposals for reform, the group’s priorities are to:
- Reduce correctional populations and associated criminal justice spending by focusing prison space on serious and violent criminals,
- Hold offenders accountable more efficiently by implementing or expanding research-based supervision and sentencing practices,
- And reinvest savings to help localities implement strategies shown to decrease recidivism, including improved reentry outcomes.
The Task Force’s recommendations will be used as the foundation for statutory, budgetary, and administrative changes during the 2017 legislative session; the Task Force will release its final recommendations on March 16, 2017.
Public input is a critical component in helping to inform the Task Force’s understanding of these important issues. As such, members of the Task Force, including Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette J. Johnson, will host a public town hall in the Cotillion Ballroom, Smith Brown Memorial Union, of Southern University, Baton Rouge, from 6pm-8pm on Wednesday February 15, 2017. The Task Force invites public testimony at this town hall from residents of our state and particularly, capitol region, on criminal justice reform matters.
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