Bayou State distances itself from Trump’s Justice Department.
Louisiana may be poised to reduce its inmate population by nearly 5,000, eliminate some restrictions for prisoners convicted on drug charges and expand programs that allow people to earn a better living while incarcerated — moves that could help save the state more than $300 million over a decade. And nearly half that money could go toward targeting the state’s recidivism problem.
After almost a year of meetings, the bi-partisan Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Task Force, established in 2015, has turned recommendations for criminal justice reform over to the state legislature. The state is among about 30 in the U.S. to re-examine its approach to criminal justice. Other states include the conservative strongholds of Arkansas, Mississippi and Georgia. Across the nation, fiscal-minded Republicans have joined Democrats in this effort.
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Ironically, many of these state reforms started about a decade ago under a Justice Reinvestment Initiative — a public-private partnership run, in part, by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, which falls under the Justice Department.
But the task force recommendations sit in stark contrast to the new “law and order” principles that seem to be guiding decisions from President Trump’s Department of Justice. If Louisiana’s legislators are the next to embrace the reinvestment recommendations, they would, in effect, be distancing themselves from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who seems poised to renew a…