1,400 Inmates to be Released — DA’s Office Not Happy
Coming up on November 1st, the Louisiana Department of Corrections plans to early release to about 1,400 supposedly non-violent criminals. While this move may save some money for the state, the whole idea does not go over well with many residents of the area, and it is certainly not a hit with our District Attorney, John DeRosier.
Case in point, according to DeRosier, is that of Felton Thompson. Thompson got an early parole, and now he is accused of killing 10-year-old Jaylyn Citizen and severely injuring his brother just last month. Derosier says:
"A person like this guy, who's got two 99-year sentences, who has always demonstrated a propensity for violent criminal offenses, is not the kind of guy you want to parole back out onto the streets,"
While only 51 of the offenders to be released are from Calcasieu, DeRosier points out that a great many more might come to the area to take advantage of the jobs and economy. In the surrounding area, 200 offenders will be released from Caddo Parish, plus there will be large numbers of them released in East Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
It is very possible that many of those being released will migrate to Calcasieu Parish for the job market, among other things. While the official word is that all the offenders being released are non-violent, DeRosier doesn't seem to be buying it:
"Some of the offenders that are being paroled pursuant to the Justice Reinvestment Statute are violent criminals,"
DeRosier says he understands the idea of saving money and he's all for that, but not at the expense of public safety. Justice reform advocates say the November release is progress for a state that has become infamous as the world's leader in incarceration. Sounds more like the decision was based on public pressure and opinion rather than public safety, doesn't it?
Meanwhile, The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), has a different take on the whole subject. According to the SPLC, most of those being released are getting out an average of eight weeks earlier than they would have anyway, and that's for good behavior.
The upcoming November release is part of a Louisiana prison reform called the Justice Reinvestment Act.