LFF’s Criminal Justice Reform Progress
Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the nation. That means tens of thousands of families are affected every year by crime. It’s time for Louisiana to get intentional and become “Smart on Rehabilitation!” Our burgeoning prison population of 38,000 carries a $700 million price tag per year! Currently, 1 in 3 of our 18,000 “graduates” released each year will return to prison within three years.
Our hope is to see recidivism cut in half over ten years, saving nearly $25 million dollars a year. Expanding re-entry court is one way to accomplish this extraordinary goal. Programs like reentry court promote life skills, judicial oversight, and moderate sentencing resulting in effective reintegration upon release. Essential tools which change lives require a healthy balance between educational, vocational, and moral rehabilitation and life and social skills development. We’ve seen the results at work at Angola. They work well, as you can see in this video.
The success re-entry court programs bring to the criminal justice system is exemplified in Louisiana’s own Jefferson Parish! We have a chance to change the trajectory of families on both sides of the crime equation. Instead of re-offenders, we could prepare skillful fathers, mothers, and families which thrive in society. Restored families!
LFF has stood firm that the proposed changes should focus on nonviolent crimes and offenders. The principle is not about getting soft on crime but smart on rehabilitation. Here is a summary of the justice reinvestment bills that passed in the 2017 session. LFF worked diligently with the District Attorney Association, the Department of Corrections, and numerous stakeholders to get these measures passed. A dramatic overhaul of Louisiana’s criminal justice system is evidenced in these 10 Acts signed by Gov. Edwards.
The Charles Colson Hope Awards, sponsored by Prison Fellowship, recognizes people who have faithfully and courageously worked to restore those affected by crime and incarceration. Charles Colson, who founded Prison Fellowship 40 years ago, was at ease with presidents, prisoners, wardens, pastors, laypeople, and legislators. In all times, he was a passionate advocate for incarcerated men and women. His impact on prison reform has been broad and lasting.
In keeping with his inspiring heritage, the Charles Colson Hope Awards honors Colson’s legacy.
The award for 2017 was given to Gene Mills, President of Louisiana Family Forum (LFF). Gene is recognized as a consistent voice of biblical values in the Pelican state. He espouses the belief that God is interested in all areas of human experience, including our systems of justice. Craig DeRoche, Senior VP of Advocacy & Public Policy, Prison Fellowship noted, “With 40 years of experience pursuing justice for those impacted by crime and incarceration, Prison Fellowship is pleased to have the partnership and friendship of Gene Mills. As the 2017 Advocate of Hope, Gene exhibits a passion for biblical principles of justice that is rare and valuable.”
If you have questions or concerns, please contact us: [email protected] – 225.344.8533 – 800.606.6470. We hope you are encouraged by the three videos below on Criminal Justice Reform, Redemption, Rehabilitation, and Reinvestment!