The state's prison population is now under 33,000 for the first time since 1998. The probation and parole population is also at its lowest level in eight years, said Jimmy LeBlanc, secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Thursday (June 28). As of the end of March, the state's prison population has dropped 7.8 percent since the end of 2016.That is great news. And as the Governor is happy to point out, it is one of a few areas where the people who elected him cannot judge his first term a complete failure. (The other non-failure being his easy decision to accept the Medicaid expansion. The positive impact of that is being steadily undermined at the federal level, of course, but that's hardly John Bel's fault.)
Louisiana has also dropped below Oklahoma as the state with the highest incarceration rate in the nation for the first time in years -- a significant shift that was announced earlier this month.
"I made a promise that, by the end of my first term, Louisiana would not have the highest incarceration rate in the nation," said Gov. John Bel Edwards at a press conference. "We have fulfilled that promise to Louisiana."
There's a lot more that could happen on this front a lot faster. But the sheriff's brother who signed the "Blue Lives Matter" bill and who helped pave the way for security contractors to protect an oil pipeline probably isn't the governor to get those things done.