Louisiana Sheriff Wants 'Good' Prisoners To Stay Jailed For Their Free Labor

Louisiana Sheriff Has a Problem with the State’s New Criminal Justice Reform Act

"There's ways and things that need to be reformed on the criminal-justice system, but certainly we don't need to do what we're about to do", he said.

Respect to the state of Louisiana for prioritizing criminal justice reform. "Well, they're going to let them out ― the ones that we use in work release programs".

Prator, who has been a law enforcement office for more than 44 years, admitted that some reforms may be in order, but releasing offenders isn't one of them.

Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator's remarks last week opposing the planned release of state prisoners have drawn national attention as racist.

The New York Times appears to have based its report on video from part of the press conference that was posted to Twitter by activist journalist Shaun King.

A statement distributed by the sheriff's office on Thursday afternoon criticized the "rantings and lies of an uninformed blogger", who it did not identify. "To say or imply any differently is untruthful".

According to a practitioners' guide for the act, Justice Reinvestment reform was designed by state officials to yield a 10-to-12 percent reduction in the prison population and save Louisiana approximately $262 million over the next decade.

At least 66 percent of Louisiana's prison population is black, according to the Prison Policy Initiative.

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Prator spent the majority of the news conference warning that the law would allow for people who were not fit for release to "flood" the streets.

"I assure you we will continue our relentless pursuit of justice by arresting those who seek to harm or steal from the productive citizens of Caddo Parish", he said.

"We can put people that need to be in these beds in".

"It brought on images of slavery, quite frankly", she said. He is concerned, it would seem, about saving money, but only in the form of cheap or free labor. "It has nothing to do with public safety, it has nothing to do with redemption, restoration, or self-improvement, it's all about saving money for the sheriff's department".

Mauer said the comments were reminiscent of a practice in the post-Civil War South known as convict leasing, where black men, many arrested on false pretenses, were then contracted out to local farmers and manufacturers to work. "It's a pretty eerie parallel".

To be clear, Prator did not mention race at any point in his comments about the law.

However, Prator also took issue with the possibility that the reform program would shrink the "necessary evil" of labor provided by state prisoners in work release programs that the sheriff's office financially benefits from. Some of these tasks include picking up litter and working at the local animal shelter.

"It is a fact that state inmates serving a hard-labor sentence can be required to work as part of their court-ordered sentence in Louisiana", the statement read in part. The population that is jailed at the facility with pending charges are typically not eligible for labor, the spokeswoman said. She said she did not know if the inmates were paid for their work or not.

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