Louisiana has worn the unfortunate crown for the highest percentage of residents incarcerated for years. It is a title its lawmakers are likely not proud to own, and they have recently changed several laws that they hope will lower the state’s prison population. Criminal defense attorneys and their defendants are hopeful that the new laws will reduce punishment and offer earlier parole for many prisoners.
According to statistics, almost 1 percent of Louisiana’s population is imprisoned. Reportedly, Texas has altered how it handles crime and punishment, and Louisiana is choosing to follow its example. Ten laws were recently passed by the government that will offer many changes with an overall goal to lower the inmate population by 10 percent over a period of 10 years.
Some of the laws will specifically benefit persons accused of drug crimes. Person’s convicted of drug crimes may not have as harsh and as long of sentences. Another law may also offer earlier parole for those already imprisoned. State lawmakers hope a lower population of inmates will also create savings for the state. A large percentage of savings has been proposed to be used for programs to rehabilitate released inmates and for victims of crimes.
The new laws may allow criminal defense attorneys to offer more hope to defendants, especially persons accused of drug crimes. A conviction of a crime can result in fines, prison time and difficulty obtaining future employment. An attorney with experience with the criminal court system will be able to advise any defendants of the new changes and how it may affect their situation.
Source: ecoomist.com, “Louisiana’s criminal justice reforms will reduce its prison population“, July 6, 2017