Jails + Prisons

Louisiana Capitol Building

Louisiana lawmakers rejected proposal to deter euthanasia of dogs from dog fights

BY: - June 22, 2021

Louisiana lawmakers killed a bill during the legislative session that was intended to deter the euthanization of dogs seized at dog fights. Supporters of House Bill 231 pulled the proposal once it became clear it wouldn’t get through the Senate Agriculture, Aquaculture and Rural Development Committee. Veterinarian associations opposed the legislation, though they didn’t explain […]

marijuana

Louisiana Governor signs bill to eliminate jail, prison time for modest marijuana possession

BY: - June 15, 2021

Gov. John Bel Edwards signed a new law that eliminates jail and prison time for the possession of modest amounts of marijuana — something typically defined as “decriminalizing” the drug. It takes effect Aug. 1. “This is not a decision I took lightly,” Edwards said in a written statement Tuesday. “In addition to carefully reviewing […]

Louisiana State Police tanked automated expungement meant to help thousands, lawmaker says

BY: - June 10, 2021

Louisiana lawmakers scuttled a bill last week that would have helped thousands of Louisiana residents wipe out criminal records that can prevent them from getting better-paying jobs. The Louisiana State Police and Louisiana Supreme Court raised last-minute objections to the proposal. The Louisiana Senate Finance Committee shelved House Bill 604 — which took two years […]

Louisiana Legislature slightly reduces pre-trial detention for misdemeanor offenses

BY: - June 8, 2021

The Louisiana Legislature voted Tuesday to reduce the number of days people can be held in jail without being charged with a misdemeanor from 45 days to 30 days. Civil rights advocates had hoped for a much more sweeping change to Louisiana’s pre-detention protocol. Gov. John Bel Edwards has to sign the legislation before it […]

marijuana

Louisiana Legislature votes to decriminalize possession of modest amounts of marijuana

BY: - June 7, 2021

The Louisiana Legislature voted to decriminalize the possession of modest amounts of marijuana across the state, removing the possibility of facing jail or prison time for people caught with 14 grams or fewer of the drug. Gov. John Bel Edwards hasn’t said whether he will sign the legislation yet. If he vetoes the bill, it […]

COMMENTARY

Dying in jail is bad; dying without being found guilty is worse | Jarvis DeBerry

BY: - June 4, 2021

More than 14% of the 786 people who are known to have died behind bars in Louisiana between 2015 and 2019 hadn’t even gone to trial yet. Two of those who died before getting their day in court were juveniles.  To be sure, that doesn’t mean that most of the other deaths aren’t alarming; only […]

In five years, 786 people died in Louisiana’s jails and prisons, a new report finds

BY: - June 2, 2021

As a law professor in Louisiana, the state that leads the country and world in the percentage of residents it incarcerates, Andrea Armstrong of Loyola University New Orleans College of Law had a question: How many people are dying in Louisiana’s jails and prisons?  Armstrong, a national expert on prison and jail conditions, couldn’t answer […]

Courtroom Gavel

Louisiana lawmakers vote to allow people convicted of felonies on juries

BY: - May 28, 2021

The Louisiana Legislature has voted to allow some people convicted of felonies to serve on juries. House Bill 84 is headed to Gov. John Bel Edwards’ desk for approval.  Rep. Denise Marcelle, D-Baton Rouge, sponsored the legislation. If enacted, people who were convicted of felonies would be able to serve on juries after they have […]

Marijuana

Louisiana won’t legalize recreational marijuana this year

BY: - May 18, 2021

The push to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Louisiana died Tuesday, when the Louisiana House rejected legislation to tax recreational marijuana. The proposed tax needed 70 House votes — two-thirds of the chamber — to pass. It only got 47 votes.  After the tax bill failed, Rep. Richard Nelson, R-Mandeville, shelved a second, separate […]

Republicans block 'Jim Crow jury' reform

Louisiana may look at changing medical release for sick, dying incarcerated people — again

BY: - May 13, 2021

A lawmaker wants the state to put together a commission to study Louisiana’s policies related to the release of incarcerated people who are sick and dying in prison — just three years after the Legislature voted to tighten the rules on those same releases. The Louisiana House will have to approve the measure before it […]

Louisiana bill to limit solitary confinement in prisons, jails dies

BY: - May 12, 2021

Rep. Mandie Landry, D-New Orleans, pulled her legislation that would have mostly prohibited the use of solitary confinement on a person who is incarcerated when the person is diagnosed with a serious mental illness or has a history of a mental illness. House Bill 68 didn’t have enough support to clear the House Committee on […]

Republicans block 'Jim Crow jury' reform

Lawmaker pulls bill to ease parole access for juvenile lifers

BY: - May 6, 2021

A Louisiana legislator pulled his bill to ease access to parole for people who committed murder before the age of 18 after it became clear Wednesday the proposal was going to be voted down. District attorneys and family members of murder victims killed by teenagers gave emotional testimony opposing the legislation. They convinced enough members […]