January 26, 2024
The Crime and Public Safety Transition Council
About the Council’s Work
The Crime and Public Safety Transition Council was established at the request of Governor Jeff Landry to identify the problems in Louisiana’s criminal justice system and to discuss and propose solutions to those problems. This Council was led by District Attorney Tony Clayton and Laura Rodrigue and included voices from across the political and policy spectrum.
Transparency for the Public
Louisiana has antiquated data systems that fail to not only efficiently track crimes, criminals, court proceedings, and outcomes, but also access and share that information. Just over half of our State’s parishes maintain electronic records while other parishes require the public to manually sift through paper files or physically attend court hearings to gain basic information.
1. Allow the public, including law enforcement, to easily access information in the criminal justice system by identifying ways to enhance data collection and dissemination.
2. Create a juvenile justice system that no longer hides crucial information from victims
and the public on crimes of violence and second or more offenses.
Truth in Sentencing
The sentencing system in Louisiana is broken, providing little information regarding the
calculations of time a criminal will actually serve. Our State cannot improve public safety until the public can be certain when offenders will be back on the streets. Moreover, convicted criminals in Louisiana can serve as little as 35% of their sentences before being released. Catch and release without meaningful rehabilitation, education, or training undermines public safety.
1. Simplify calculations for good time by mandating the amount of time criminals must
serve. Providing victims, criminals, and the public with the convict’s prison release date
should be done on the day of sentencing.
2. Eliminate good time earned during pre-adjudication. Correcting the system should help alleviate the current clogging of local jails, expedite judicial proceedings, and reduce our State’s exposure to liability.
3. Revamp the parole system. Rather than allowing offenders into communities based
upon promises of good behavior under minimal supervision, criminals should have a
more structured setting to transition back to society.
Some courts and judges in Louisiana have disregarded the severity of crimes and the potential risk of public safety when issuing no bail or low bail. This has created an environment where violent and repeat offenders wreak havoc in our communities.
1. Implement a range for bail based on the crime and require judges to list reasons for
deviating from that schedule. Judges should have to justify to the public why they
implement low bonds for violent and repeat offenders.
Louisiana’s criminal justice system has become a revolving door for criminals, eroding public safety and failing to properly rehabilitate offenders. Recidivism is a major problem, with DPS&C & calculating that 80% of those returning to prison are third-time or fourth-time offenders.
1. Change the current system of entitlement to one that encourages offenders to make
meaningful reforms to earn early release. Offenders should complete effective
programs that set them up for success in society.
2. Greatly expand drug courts. Drug courts in Louisiana have proven their ability to break
the cycle of incarceration.
Louisiana currently affords those convicted of crimes too many benefits. Our State’s post-
conviction system allows far too much leeway for public officials to release dangerous
1. Amend the Constitution to allow for common-sense modifications to the bail system.
2. Overhaul process to prevent re-traumatizing victims with repetitive pardon and parole
3. Eliminate “Street Credit” and Earned Compliance Credits.
4. Revoke bond and detain offenders when arrested for a felony or other violent crime
while out on probation or parole.
5. Return to the previous procedures for making victims whole. Victims should not have to go through a lengthy civil procedure for redintegration simply because their offender
made a few on-time payments; the onus should be on the criminal, not the victims.
More violent crimes are being committed at younger ages than ever before. Soft on crime
philosophies have failed, allowing the juvenile crime crisis to spiral out of control.
1. Correct the age at which someone can be charged as an adult for committing crimes.
2. Ensure OJJ applies meaningful classifications so the tiered system can be implemented as soon as possible.
3. Sentence juveniles to time necessary for the corrections process to work by mandating
penalties for certain crimes. to lead them down the path of being productive members
4. Allow judges to bring justice to hardened juveniles in the corrections system. Criminals
who act violently within juvenile facilities should have their crimes made transferable to
5. Direct OJJ to implement a corrections model that includes probation and parole versus
the current therapeutic approach.
The current atmosphere for law enforcement in Louisiana is causing a severe staffing shortage with over a thousand vacancies statewide. If Louisiana is unable to attract and retain law enforcement officers, it will never be able to fully tackle public safety in a long-lasting way.
1. Strengthen protections for law enforcement officers legally performing their jobs.
2. Implement financial incentives that attract applicants to a career in law enforcement
and corrections. Easing the financial burden on agencies hiring new officers will help
with recruitment and retention.
3. Explore avenues to adequately fund regional crime labs.
DPS&C, OJJ and Louisiana public defenders face a correctional officer staffing crisis.
1. Order a complete review of all programs offered by the DPS&C to eliminate
unsuccessful programs. For example, reallocate DPS&C funds for redundant Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts to address the correctional officer staffing crisis.
2. Explore bringing OJJ back under DPS&C. A thorough review should be conducted to
determine if DPS is once again best suited to provide stability and continuity to OJJ operations.
3. Identify ways to better structure and fund the public defender system.