La. Gets Lenient With Nonviolent Offenders

Dan HarrisMarch 10, 2014

In the 1980s and 1990s, with Louisiana experiencing a surge in crime, state Sen. John Hainkel helped write and pass tough new sentencing laws.

Now, he makes a startling admission: It “didn’t work at all.”

Too many nonviolent drug criminals got put away, he said. The prison population doubled. The cost tripled. And the crime rate barely dropped.

He said Louisiana simply cannot afford the system he helped design.

“I am a fiscal conservative — a strict fiscal conservative,” said Hainkel, the Republican state senate president. “And it made no sense whatsoever, from either a financial viewpoint or a moral viewpoint, to put people in jail that didn’t need to be in jail.”

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