Michelle Southern reporting.
Now that the governor has released his plan for how he'd like to see criminal justice reformed in Louisiana, the recommendations are now in the hands of lawmakers. New Orleans Representative Walt Leger is a member of the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Task Force. He hopes the legislature realizes that this plan is one that actually fights crime.
"And works to reduce recidivism, reduce the prison population over time, save the state money, and result in better and stronger communities across the board," said Leger.
Leger says it's the legislature's responsibility to file as many bills as necessary that would tackle the recommendations made by the task force. He says, ultimately, lawmakers are the ones who decide what becomes state law, and it's time for a change in what's been the norm.
"For too long, the committees on criminal justice have listened to stories, and anecdote," said Leger. "And made decisions on policy that have taken us in the direction that we have finally reached at this point."
Leger says in 1965, Louisiana ranked 13th in incarceration, then in 2005 became the incarceration leader of the nation. He says legislation will be offered that will get the state where it needs to be in terms of prison population.
"It will reduce crime, make our community safer, and allow us to move forward on priorities that need to be met, so that we can have the kind of communities the people of this state deserve," said Leger.