Bill Is an Important Model for How Other States Can Address Nation’s Overincarceration Crisis
BATON ROUGE, La. – The American Civil Liberties Union today hailed the passage of a bill in the Louisiana legislature making it easier for elderly prisoners to get a parole hearing as an important step towards reducing the state’s unnecessarily high prison population.
The bill, H.B. 138, passed today by the Louisiana Senate after it was passed two weeks ago by the state’s House of Representatives, will enable some prisoners to go before a parole board upon turning 60 years of age. The board can then decide to grant parole to those individuals who would pose no danger to the community upon release.
“Louisiana should not be using taxpayer dollars to lock up elderly individuals when they pose no danger to our communities,” said Marjorie Esman, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana. “The state’s legislature deserves credit for tackling the state’s problem of overincarceration by passing bills like this one.”
Louisiana has the largest incarcerated population of any state in the nation, and half of those behind bars in Louisiana are there for non-violent offenses. The state has 1,224 people over the age of 60 locked up – three percent of the state’s total prison population.
The Louisiana Department of Corrections estimates that while it costs $19,888 to house a state prisoner for a year, it costs $80,000 to house an ailing inmate.
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Louisiana spends a huge amount of your taxpayer dollars putting people in prison who simply don’t need to be there. A lot of this money is spent keeping elderly people on …