When the Louisiana Legislature passed criminal justice reforms in 2017, we did it because my fellow Republicans, along with Democrats, independents, the faith community, the business community, and most importantly, law enforcement, all came together to pass reforms that not only shed Louisiana’s title as number one incarcerator of our citizens, while also making us safer and saving the state money. These bipartisan reforms focused solely on nonviolent, non-sex offenders, and not a single violent offender or sex offender has benefited at all from these reforms.
We had input of sheriffs, DAs and victims’ rights groups all through this process, and every single one of those ten bills passed the Legislature with strong bipartisan support. In fact, seven of the ten were authored by Republicans. From New Orleans to Shreveport and Monroe, crime rates are down following these reforms.
Recent Republican critics of these reforms are doing more than attacking Louisiana’s historic, bipartisan work. They’re also attacking what President Trump has achieved on the federal level. The First Step Act, one of President Trump’s most important accomplishments, mirrored Louisiana's own criminal justice reforms.
At the end of the day, we can do better than being the number one jailer of our citizens in America, and we’re doing that now, in a way that saves the state money, and, most importantly, keeps us safe.
Danny Martiny is a Republican State Senator from Jefferson Parish, and was a member of the Justice Reinvestment Task Force.