by Lauren Galik, Julian Morris
October 30, 2013
Over the past several decades, Louisiana legislators have passed a number of determinate sentencing laws aimed at reducing crime and incapacitating certain types of offenders. Because these laws have been disproportionately applied to nonviolent crimes, nonviolent offenders now account for the majority of inmates and admissions to prison in the state. This has produced a number of unfortunate consequences, such as an increase in the state’s prison population from 21,007 in 1992 to 39,709 in 2011 and a $315 million increase in correction expenditures. Meanwhile, there is little evidence that the laws have done anything to reduce Louisiana’s violent crime rate. Louisiana legislators could repeal minimum sentences for nonviolent offenses and amend the habitual offender law so that it applies only to those convicted of two or more violent or sex offenses.