Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the nation - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the nation

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana lawmakers will decide whether to enact changes proposed to shrink the number of people in prison and bolster programs aimed at keeping them from reoffending after they leave. Among the data and information included in the task force report:

STATISTICS:

Louisiana has the highest per capita incarceration rate in the United States, with 816 people in prison for every 100,000 residents. That's nearly double the national average.

Nearly 35,700 people are incarcerated today. The number of prisoners has grown 30 times faster than the state's population since the late 1970s.

One in three people return to prison in Louisiana within three years of release.

Louisiana sends people to prison for drug, property and other nonviolent crimes at twice the rate of South Carolina and three times the rate of Florida.

Among those sentenced to prison in Louisiana, the top 10 crimes are nonviolent. Five of the top 10 are drug offenses. The most common is drug possession.

81 percent of admissions to prison in Louisiana in 2015 were for nonviolent crimes.

Louisiana's parole board heard 45 percent fewer cases in 2015 than it did 10 years earlier.

Louisiana is spending $625 million this year for adult corrections, the state's third-largest spending area.

TASK FORCE ESTIMATES:

If the recommendations are enacted, the task force estimates in a decade:

Louisiana's prison population would drop 13 percent from an expected 36,541 people to 31,724 people.

The number of people on community supervision through probation and parole would drop 16 percent from an expected 69,250 people to 57,829.

Caseloads for probation and parole workers would drop from an average of 139 cases per officer to 113 cases.

Louisiana would save $305 million in corrections costs, though the task force recommends $154 million be reinvested into public safety and re-entry programs. Net savings would be $151 million.

Source: Justice Reinvestment Task Force report and recommendations.

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