Listen, Steve Prator, the Sheriff of Caddo Parish in Louisiana, is extremely displeased with the state’s Justice Reinvestment Act (JRA), which will allow for the early release of some 1,400 inmates next month.
Louisiana, you’re reminded, “boasts” the highest per capita incarceration rate in the country at something like 815 people in prison for every 100,000 residents. That’s almost double the national average. Here’s the local KLSA News with a little background color for you:
The Justice Reinvestment Act is made up of 10 bills passed by the Louisiana Legislature and signed by Governor John Bel Edwards in June, intended to change Louisiana’s reputation as the most imprisoned state in the country.
Generally speaking, if you’re the most imprisoned state in the country, you’d be inclined to think that maybe there’s a problem that goes beyond crime. That is, maybe there’s something wrong with the system itself.
But if you’re inclined to think that, you’d be wrong. And the above mentioned Sheriff Steve will tell you why:
Let’s face it, somebody gotta’ be number one and we got some bad dudes around here, we got some folks that need to be in jail.
Yes, “somebody gotta’ be number one,” and besides, there are “some bad dudes” around Steve’s parts.
But as it turns out, the people being released aren’t really “bad dudes,” at least according to Criminal Justice Reform Field Director for the Southern Poverty Law Center John Burkhardt. To wit:
These are folks that were convicted of nonviolent offenses and they’re on average being released about eight weeks early thanks to a 5% change in the application of good time credit for parole.
Oh. Well when you put it that way.
But if you’re Sheriff Steve, that’s even worse. Because what that means is that all the “good” prisoners are going to be released and if they’re released they can’t “wash cars, and cook in the kitchen” anymore. What a waste.
And look, if you think that already sounds outrageous, just wait until you hear Steve “explain” it. Cue Steve:
See, this is the problem with criminal justice reform. Nobody wants to listen to “reasonable” people like Sheriff Steve.
So you know, if you’re pushing for the early release of non-violent offenders in order to bring down the astronomical cost of holding them for no good reason, then don’t you go complaining about having to wash your own car and cook your own dinner.