Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Also they will be required to stand on one foot and sing the national anthem backwards

The latest in the set of prison anti-reforms to move through the legislature goes out of its way to make sure we keep old people in jail. This bill insists that candidates for parole jump through a number of irrelevant hoops simply for the purpose of having this all be harder than it needs to be.
Under the bill, people would only be able to qualify for geriatric parole if they also completed 100 hours of pre-release training, earned an equivalent of a high school diploma, got through substance abuse treatment if necessary and not had a disciplinary offense at the prison in the 12 months prior to coming to the parole board.
Other bills aimed at gutting last year's moderate criminal justice reforms are moving as well.

Sherman Mack's HB195 extending parole from 3 to 5 years  has passed the House.

Mack's HB168 limiting good time served credits has also passed the House.

Mack is carrying quite a few of these. (He is close with DAs.) Here is a a bill that jacks up restitution and fees imposed on convicts. It is also out of the House already.  Three bill with similar effects by Dan Claitor, Ronnie Johns, and Ryan Gatti are under consideration in the Senate this week.

Last year, Louisiana's habitual offender law which had been a favorite tool used by Orleans DA Leon Cannizzaro to bully people, was made slightly less onerous.  This year a bill by Tony Bacala would restore the old law as it applies to those already convicted ensuring they serve the extra long sentences the reform was meant to eliminate.

Suffice to say, our meager effort at being an ever so slightly less cruel state last year is already backsliding. Beyond that, though, I'm curious about the effect of all this on the budget. One selling point that helped boost last year's reforms had to do with the money they were going to save us.  This year, in fact, lawmakers are already squabbling over the best use of that presumed dividend. These rollbacks, though, are going to eat into it as well.  If anyone has an estimate as to how badly, I haven't seen it yet.

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