Governor Jeff Landry has issued a call for a special session tasking the Louisiana legislature to consider a number of measures to address crime. There are people who favor the crime special session, those who oppose and others who think it does not go far enough.

Do we need a special legislative session on crime? Yes, because public safety should be our number one priority.

There should also be consensus on the guiding force for this special crime session. Such as, being proactive rather than reactive, making sure whatever is done makes fiscal sense, not repeating past mistakes and thinking outside the box.

Let’s be clear about something, people should be held accountable for their actions.

I was a New Orleans police officer assigned to the Urban Squad, which patrolled the housing projects and the 5th District, which covered the 7th, 8th and 9th wards-hot spots then, hot spots now.

I made my share of arrests. When I was a Criminal Court judge, I sentenced more than 25 violent offenders to life sentences.

I also sentenced dozens of nonviolent offenders to the Orleans Parish Reentry Court program we started at Angola, where they obtained a HiSet(GED) and learned a skill trade.

The Angola Reentry program has a recidivism rate of 14% compared to 40% for those released without reentry.

What we started in the Orleans Parish Reentry Court in 2010, is now present in Jefferson Parish, St Tammany Parish, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, Lafayette, Monroe, Bastrop and DeRidder courthouses.

What is clear, regardless the age a person is sent to prison, how long a person stays in prison or how easier you want someone on probation or parole to be imprisoned, 95% of people in prison will be released.

Consider the following solutions:

  • 1) Start reentry programs in every state juvenile prison.
  • 2) Expand the Angola reentry program to every adult state prison(especially the women’s prison).
  • 3) Require every sheriff who has state prisoners to develop an effective reentry program.
  • 4) Start reentry programs for prisoners with lengthy sentences 3 years prior to their release.
  • 5) Bring together community colleges, skill trade unions and industries needing skilled labor to high schools and prisons.
  • 6) Increase the Medicaid reimbursement rate for mental health services.

We now have the opportunity, not only to hold people accountable for their crimes, but also provide a pathway for nonviolent offenders to become productive rather than destructive, taxpayers and tax takers.

If we do not take the necessary action to fight, reduce and prevent crime at the same time, we will continue to count the number of people who will become victims.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.