ROC signatory Kevin Kane talks to NPR

Signatory to the Right on Crime statement of principles and President of the Pelican Institute Kevin Kane talks to NPR about Louisiana’s criminal justice system.

“It is a growing consensus on the right that this is the direction we want to be going. Most people will point to, ‘Well, it’s saving money, and that’s all conservatives care about.’ But I think it goes beyond that.”

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ROC testifies in Louisiana

Right on Crime signatory Jerry Madden testified before a Louisiana Senate Committee on a bill that aims to lessen sentences for non-violent drug offenders.

“It saves money, saves lives and reverses the trend.”

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Louisiana looks to Texas to get right on crime

The Pelican Institute points out that Louisiana is out of step, even with conservative states like Texas and Georgia, which have moved away from prison terms for nonviolent offenders to emphasize rehabilitation.

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Raft of Bills Aim to Make Louisiana Smart on Crime

Kevin Kane, president of the Pelican Institute, on recommendations for Louisiana to get smart on crime.

The Lens: “Unusual coalition aims to reduce high prisoner count in Louisiana”

Louisiana looks to the Texas Public Policy Foundation and Right on Crime as an example for reforming their criminal justice system.

“When you think of tough law and a no-nonsense place, you think of Texas,” said New Orleans businessman Jay Lapeyre. “They’re not soft on crime. So there must be some logic behind it.”

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A coalition on prisons

Louisiana leads the nation in incarceration. The state’s prison population doubled during the past couple of decades.

As discussed in The Advocate, Kevin Kane of the Pelican Institute, along with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, are working to reverse this trend. Click here to read the article.

Three Recommendations for Sentencing Reform in Louisiana

The Reason Foundation presents 3 recommendations for decreasing the prison population, cutting expenses, and protecting public safety in Louisiana.

“Sentencing laws need examining”

Kevin Kane, president of The Pelican Institute for Public Policy champions Right on Crime for offering “conservative governors and legislatures national support for criminal justice reforms.”

Read the full article in the Tri-Parish Times.

New sentencing study released in Louisiana

Today, the Reason Foundation, in conjunction with the Pelican Institute for Public Policy and the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Effective Justice, has announced the release of “Smart on Sentencing, Smart on Crime:  An Argument for Reforming Louisiana’s Determinate Sentencing Laws.”  The paper, authored by Lauren Galik and Julian Morris of the Reason Foundation, brings to light Louisiana’s outmoded overreliance on mandatory minimum sentences as a means of criminal deterrence.

Dismayed by the lack of severity of felony sentences and the swiftness with which they were applied, lawmakers in Louisiana passed a swath of determinate sentencing laws ranging from mandatory minimum legislation to habitual offender laws.  The former statutorily imposes a “floor” – a minimum length of time a sentence must contain upon the finding of guilt for a specific crime.  The latter requires the imposition of a mandatory minimum sentence based on how many felony re-offenses the individual has been found to have committed, the most notorious of which being “Three Strikes” laws.

While superficially an effective deterrent to criminal behavior, determinant sentencing laws wrest control of individual case processing and adjudication from the trained professionals of the criminal justice system and grant it to the legislature.  This rote process limits the sentencing options available to the court and fails to take into account individual variation between cases.  As such studies have shown that, while harsher sentences are more frequently given and prison populations swell under determinate sentencing schemes, there is no positive effect on public safety for the accompanying increase in cost.

Louisiana has shown the willingness to make sentencing reform a priority.  Over the past two years, Louisiana lawmakers passed bills allowing courts to waive mandatory minimum requirements in certain situations, expanding eligibility for parole for nonviolent offenders, and incentivized further use of drug treatment and rehabilitation/vocational programs.  With the coming interest this report is likely to generate, we eagerly look forward to the next wave of common sense criminal justice reforms for the state.

The Pelican Institute on how to reduce Louisiana’s prison population

Louisiana leads the world in the number of people it imprisons, but the Pelican Institute, along with Texas Public Policy Foundation, have developed model legislation to remedy this problem.

Click here to learn more.