State, law enforcement officials seek compromise to save controversial prison reform plan
Gov. John Bel Edwards and criminal justice reform advocates are racing to appease critics in the law enforcement community who threaten to dilute a sweeping overhaul of the state's criminal code aimed at curbing Louisiana's bloated prison rolls.
Law enforcement leaders and high-level staffers for Edwards have met behind closed doors every day this week and figure to negotiate through the weekend over a compromise.
Edwards and other backers of the proposed legislation aim to preserve much of the $305 million in savings that experts say would come from measures aimed at shedding nearly 5,000 inmates, and the state's label as the nation's leading jailer, by 2027.
They face a powerful lobbying tandem in the state's prosecutors and sheriffs, who oppose many of the changes in sentencing, parole eligibility or early release for violent inmates. According to figures from Pew Charitable Trusts, scrapping those changes would reduce the savings by about $40 million.