Panel on Reform of N.O.’s Criminal Justice System/Jails (Oct 2013. Louisiana Weekly).

On Wednesday, October 22, at UNO’s Jefferson campus, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Pelican Institute for Public Policy hosted a public forum to discuss ways to reverse Louisiana’s status as the world’s incarceration leader.

The ACLU’s executive director, Marjorie Esman, reminded the small audience of reporters, lawyers and politicians that one in 86 Louisiana adults are in prison – twice the national average. As Governor Jindal slashes education and healthcare, Esman pointed out, taxpayers are being asked to spend more on incarceration, mostly for non-violent offenders.

The Department of Corrections budget for 2013-2014 is $390,625,856, not including the cost of police, prosecutors and public defenders.

According to Esman, The continuing record rate of murders in New Orleans proves that incarceration is a drain on society and that does almost nothing to solve Louisiana’s crime problem.

“It’s not making us any safer to lock most of these people up,” said Esman. “And if it’s not safer to have them there, we shouldn’t have them there.”

The Pelican Institute’s Kevin Kane pointed out that even tough-on-crime conservatives like himself are ready to look at ways to decrease Louisiana’s prison population. Kane admitted that monetary incentives are a big part of Louisiana’s problem. “Louisiana reserves per diem money, so Sheriffs have a financial incentive to keep beds full,” said Kane. CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS PIECE AT Louisiana Weekly…

And I can’t help posting this New Orleans jail drug party video whenever I have the chance… 

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