10,000 inmates would need their release July 1 if budget slashed, corrections head says

Paul Braun

The head of Louisiana’s Corrections Department said his agency would have to release 10,000 inmates starting July 1 if the Legislature does not raise more revenue by then.

Jimmy LeBlanc, the secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, said the agency could not weather the $75 million in cuts apportioned to it Monday without sharply reducing the inmate population or furloughing some of its staff.

He said the department would not release violent offenders or inmates convicted of sex crimes. But sheriffs and officials in various parts of the state have already expressed concern about criminal-justice reforms in 2017 that have led to the accelerated release of thousands of nonviolent offenders since last November.

LeBlanc said the 10,000 additional inmates – nearly one third of the total state prisoners – would be released gradually over the next year and are now being housed in parish jails around the state. The budget passed by the Legislature cut about 25 percent of the money that the department uses to pay sheriffs to hold the inmates.

Read the story in The Advocate.

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