The Louisiana Senate passed several bills to improve Louisiana’s criminal justice system, including a bill to make probation less costly for both the state and offenders.
Other bills would adjust the juvenile probation procedure and provide released prisoners letters verifying where they had served their time.
The measures had already been approved by the House and now go to the governor for his approval.
House Bill 643, sponsored by Monroe Democratic Rep. Frederick Jones, allows the parole board to reduce the level of supervision at which a parolee is monitored, potentially reducing the cost of probation for the state and reducing the number of fees that have to be paid by the parolee.
Sen. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, spoke in support of the legislation, which does not decrease anyone’s parole time. HB643 helps “lighten the level of supervision after so much time and also lighten the cost of supervision after so much time, which helps both the state and the offenders with the cost,” she said.
Under HB643, the parole board can reconsider a nonviolent offender’s terms of probation after three years of parole. For violent offenders, the time frame is seven years. After the offender has completed the required time, the board can reduce the number of meetings that the offender is required to have with his or her probation officer per month.
Jackson said district attorneys have voiced support for the bill. It passed with 35 yeas and 2 nays.
The Senate also swiftly voted 33-0 in favor of House Bill 453, which ensures a minimum of three days’ notice before a court can make a change to a juvenile’s probation. Sen. Rick Ward, R-Port Allen, said the bill gives prosecutors time to look over any changes.
By Kathleen Peppo
LSU Manship School News Service