Possible inmate release because of state budget cuts


Louisiana’s head of corrections department said 10-thousand inmates would have to be released July 1 if the Legislature does not raise revenue by then.

Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator said that large of a release is a worst-case scenario. If it does happen, he said it would impact the parish’s crime rate and finances.

Under the current budget plan in Baton Rouge 75-million is cut from the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. 45-million would come out of the fund for housing state inmates in parish jails.

The secretary of Corrections, Jimmy Le Blanc said those cuts would force them to release 10-thousand inmates who are non-violent or not convicted of sex crimes.

Sheriff Prator said he’s never seen a budget constraint lead to a prisoner release and feels law enforcement is being used by the Legislature. 

“It’s a scare tactic. I don’t think it will ever happen. Should it happen it will impact us pretty significantly. It will impact us not only in the crime rate by making it an even more dangerous place to live, but also financially,” said Sheriff Steve Prator, Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Criminally-he said a non-violent offense doesn’t show if there were previous offenses that were violent. Financially-he said it would impact maintenance at parish jails, such as cooking and laundry, along with inmates doing trash pick-up on highways. 

“If the Sheriff’s are cut again on our per diem, then all the prisoners will have to be sent back to the state prisons and these are all state prisoners not matter where they are held,” Sheriff Prator said. 

Parish jails receive 24.39 per day for state inmates.

He said his department is not planning for the cuts to happen, but will be prepared to handle it if they do. 

“The Sheriff’s Office, we’re going to figure out a way to get keep the citizens of Caddo Parish safe, whatever it takes,” Prator said.

The secretary of Corrections said if the legislature does not raise additional revenue, they’ll have to make those releases or examine furloughing workers.

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