Today, Governor Bobby Jindal signed legislation that will help rehabilitate low-risk drug offenders housed in Louisiana's prisons. This bill is part of the Governor's 2013 Legislative Package.
HB 442--authored by Representative Joe Lopinto--significantly increases access to drug treatment for non-violent, non-sex drug offenders.
Governor Jindal said, "There are a number of low-risk, non-violent drug offenders in our prisons who can still turn things around and become productive members of society instead of repeat offenders. This common sense piece of legislation will provide these offenders with the treatment they need to recover and safely re-enter our communities. This reform will not only save taxpayer dollars, but it will also enable folks in our criminal justice system to focus resources on protecting our citizens from violent and other serious criminals."
HB 442 removes certain eligibility restrictions on consideration for the judicial Drug Court probation program and administratively expands the use of mandatory substance abuse treatment for eligible non-violent, non-sex drug offenders by authorizing the Department of Corrections (DOC) to create a DOC-managed substance abuse probation program.
For similar but currently incarcerated offenders, this legislation also incentivizes treatment by offering early release and intensive parole supervision to first and second non-violent, non-sex drug offenders who have served two years, are within one year of release and successfully complete a 90-day drug treatment program.
This sentencing reform is smart on crime by ensuring that offenders whose offense is related to their substance abuse receive the treatment they need, lowering recidivism rates and reducing Louisiana's prison population.