A coalition called Louisianans for Prison Alternatives made their case for criminal justice reform during a rally on the State Capitol steps. Foundation for Louisiana President Flozell Daniels served as a member of the governor’s Justice Reinvestment Task Force and he’s pushing for legislation to reduce the incarceration rate and save the state millions of dollars.
“I know we can be successful and we can win because the state budget is short and we don’t have the resources. We cannot wait to decarcerate.”
Governor John Bel Edwards legislative package contains bills that he says can reduce the state’s prison population by at least 13%. Former Angola inmate Norris Henderson says now is the time for legislators to act.
“I’m reminded by Dr. King, Dr. King said ‘wait almost means never’. So we can’t wait. Wait is not in our vocabulary.”
The governor is urging legislators to pass bills that will give some inmates more parole hearings, alternatives to prison and shorter sentences for those who commit non-violent crimes. Henderson says non-violent felons can change and learn from their mistakes while in prison.
“All we’re asking for is giving people an opportunity, we’re not saying this is going to be a jailbreak. Give our folks an opportunity to present themselves.”