The undesirable title of the top state incarceration has belonged to Louisiana for a number of years, with Oklahoma not too far behind. For the first time in nearly three decades, the prison population in Louisiana is finally on a steady decline. Per 100,000, an incarceration rate of 776 people in Louisiana are behind bars. With new legislation passed and Governor John Bel Edwards’ pledge to reduce the prison population, it’s expected that Louisiana will pass off their title to Oklahoma. Not only does Oklahoma have the next largest incarceration rate of 715 per every 100,000 citizens, but this state also incarcerates more women than any other state.
Louisiana recently conducted successful legislative sessions aiming to reduce the prison population with a package of 10 new laws. With the passing of these laws, Louisiana plans to reduce their prison population by a tenth over the next few years. To coincide with lowering the prison population, the state plans to build up programs to support crime victims, and also rehabilitate criminals to reduce the chance of them re-offending. Rehab and counseling are both prime opportunities to reduce the prison population to ensure ex-offenders don’t end up back behind bars.
Democratic Governor, John Bel Edwards, takes passion in committing to law enforcement and the criminal justice system due to his history of family members whom were or are sheriffs. He had full support in the packaging of the 10 new laws for Louisiana, hoping this would be a tremendous asset to combating the prison population from rising again.
Texas started a trend that other states have begun to emulate in terms of changing their perspective of crime and punishment. With this re-aligned attitude, Texas reduced both crime and incarceration throughout the entire state, a goal of every state.
Although Oklahoma also had a legislative session, it wasn’t as successful as Louisiana. A former prosecutor and committee quickly closed the curtains on some of the bills. The lawmakers in Oklahoma are still making it quite difficult to reduce the prison population, leaving them the next state to have the highest prison population.
Louisiana is in a good position for reducing the prison population while also making the streets a safer place.