1,400 people to be released from La. prisons on Nov. 1 due to new prison reforms

1,400 people to be released from La. prisons on Nov. 1 due to new prison reforms

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - On November 1, 1,400 people will be released from Louisiana's prisons due to a package of criminal justice reform bills signed earlier this year by Governor John Bel Edwards. The reform bills will reduce the state's prison population by 10 percent and the parole/probation over the next decade, according to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Those being released have been serving time for non-violent, non-sex offenses. Louisiana Department of Corrections has prepared the individuals to return back into their communities.

The Southern Poverty Law Center expects the state to save $262 million over time by reducing the number of people in prison. Of the money saved, 70 percent will reportedly be reinvested into programs that prevent crime and reduce repeat offenders.

Typically, the DOC releases about 1,500 per month, which includes all types of offenders. Now, under the new reforms, the number of non-violent, non-sex offenders released in two months will be released in one. The eligible for release has also changed. Now qualified non-violent, non-sex offenders can be eligible for release after serving 35 percent of their sentences as opposed to the previous 40 percent.

The percentage change in eligibility is minor. The reforms have resulted in a 5 percent change in the amount of "good time" a person can earn. Previously, individuals were eligible for release after serving 40 percent of their sentences; now it's 35 percent, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The DOC will give every individual being released a pre-release curriculum before they return home. The caseloads for probation and parole will rebalance within six months as additional reforms go into effect.

Louisiana incarcerated 776 people per 100,000 residents in 2015, far beyond the national rate of 458, according to Justice Department data.

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