Thursday, March 9, 2017

Louisiana: Sentencing / Clemency Reform

Gov. Edwards reports Gov. John Bel Edwards is expected "to make his big push to change criminal sentencing laws and reduce Louisiana's highest-in-the-world incarceration rate during the Legislature's regular session starting April 10."

Edwards commuted 22 prison sentences, "far more than the first-year totals of predecessors Mike Foster, Kathleen Blanco and Bobby Jindal." The totals for previous governors were as follows: Foster (52), Blanco (129) and Jindal (3). It is reported that Edwards' actions "have raised the spirits of lifers at the Louisiana State Penitentiary."

Jindal didn't necessarily turn down offenders' requests so much as he ignored about 700 recommendations from the Pardons and Parole Board for commutations, pardons and other forms of relief  "without any action." So, Edwards' Pardons and Parole Board has implemented a new rule: If Jindal's board recommended clemency and there was no action on the case, an inmate can reapply over the next year (as opposed to waiting 2 to 5 years) to Edwards' board "and be considered quickly." See full story here.

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