Working To Minimize Over-Incarceration in Louisiana

On Behalf of Longman Jakuback

With 564 prisoners per 100,000 people, Louisiana has one of the highest incarceration rates in the United States. At least 86,000 people go to jail in Louisiana each year.

This over-incarceration problem has serious effects on the state’s families and communities.

Does Over-Incarceration Create a Vicious Cycle?

Recent research shows that higher incarceration rates do little to deter crime. By putting more nonviolent criminals in jail, this practice breaks down the family and social bonds that can prevent people from committing crimes. When adults are no longer in the home, families suffer income loss and increased poverty. People who serve jail sentences face many challenges in finding work after their release, creating resentment for the criminal justice system and leaving them with few options.

What Are Some Alternatives to Imprisonment?

There are many alternatives to jail time, including:

  • House arrest
  • Probation
  • Restitution
  • Community service

Is Treatment More Effective Than Prison?

Sending people to prison for minor offenses creates challenges that can lead to more criminal behavior. Often, individuals would benefit more from access to resources and support that help maintain good mental health, physical health and financial wellness. According to an RTI International and Temple University study, sentencing people with mental health concerns and drug abusers to treatment programs rather than prison can reduce crime rates and save money related to criminal justice expenses.

Ensuring criminal justice and public safety does not have to mean jail time. Understanding the law and solid defense strategies can help residents of Louisiana lower incarceration rates by fighting for their rights in court.

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