Louisiana reinvests $8.5M savings into more criminal justice reform measures

Louisiana leaders announced savings of $12.2 million generated from the criminal justice reforms state legislators enacted last year, and now the state has earmarked $8.54 million of these savings for additional reforms, with the majority for programs and organizations designed to reduce recidivism.

According to The Advocate, these savings will be directed to programs and organizations in the parishes that send the highest number of people to the state’s prisons, including Orleans, Jefferson, Caddo, East Baton Rouge and St. Tammany. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said focusing on these five parishes will have the biggest impact on the state’s safety and reentry efforts. Department of Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc said that in the future, the state would like to expand funding to other areas as well.

In 2017, Louisiana had the highest incarceration rate in the nation. After serving as the nation’s prison capital for nearly 20 years, legislators passed a package of 10 criminal justice reforms last year to end the state’s streak. Now, more than one year since the reforms were enacted, Louisiana’s overall prison population has declined by nearly 8 percent.

For several years, GEO Reentry has operated non-residential day reporting centers in Louisiana aimed at reducing recidivism through the use of evidence-based treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy designed to change criminal behavior. GEO Reentry’s Louisiana locations include centers in Baton Rouge, Covington and Shreveport. These programs are poised to support the state to provide critical reentry services as well as connect probationers and paroles with supportive services that help them succeed in the community.

The Advocate reported that $2 million of the earmarked funds are expected to be divided among community-based organizations that work with the formerly incarcerated. An example includes GEO Reentry’s Community Connections program, in which participants learn about valuable resources they can use on their road to reentry, such as food and housing, health services, education, and employment, legal support, family reunification and substance abuse.

Learn more about our Louisiana centers and programming.