Parole Eligibility and Good Time Earning Rates
In 2017, the Louisiana Legislature passed a number of criminal justice reforms aimed at reducing the prison population, preventing crime, and saving taxpayer dollars. While data-driven and supported by research, not all reforms recommended by the Justice Reinvestment Task Force (Task Force) became law. The recommendations that did become law do not apply to people in a uniform manner. These proposals, which were crafted with the input of crime survivors, district attorneys, judges, Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections, and law enforcement, would have safely reduced our prison population and saved taxpayers’ money.
It is time to finish implementing the Task Force recommendations, and to change laws that deprive or unnecessarily delay the opportunity for many Louisianans to earn time off their sentences through good behavior. Louisiana can both hold people accountable for their actions and offer opportunities for redemption.
Louisianans face different prison time for the same offenses.
• Current law makes certain people eligible for parole after they have served 65 percent of their sentences. However, this parole eligibility only applies if they are convicted of crimes committed on or after Nov. 1, 2017.
• A person convicted of a crime that was committed on Oct. 31, 2017 would be required to serve more prison time than a person convicted of committing the exact same crime the very next day.
• There is no difference between people who were convicted for crimes committed before or after Nov. 1, 2017, yet Louisiana law sentences them differently. People convicted for crimes committed before Nov. 1, 2017 earn good time credit at a slower rate than people convicted for crimes committed after that date.
• There is no logical basis for treating people differently based on when they committed a crime.
Taxpayers foot the bill for increased costs as incarcerated people grow older.
• The longer people stay in prison and the older they get, the more it costs the state and taxpayers to house and treat them. Prisons must provide health care to incarcerated individuals, ranging from blood pressure medicine, to dialysis and insulin, to cancer treatments.
• Treating people convicted of the same crimes uniformly will allow Louisiana to more immediately reap the benefits of the Justice Reinvestment effort.
Support HB 115 (Smith)
• Affords parole eligibility uniformly to people convicted of the same crimes, whether they were committed before or after Nov. 1, 2017.
• Allows people who have been convicted of crimes committed before and after Nov. 1, 2017 to uniformly earn good time credits.