Reducing Louisiana's incarceration rate

Reducing Louisiana's incarceration rate

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Louisiana has received national notoriety for its incarceration rates that lead the nation.

According to a report from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor, the state incarcerates a higher number of nonviolent offenders than the national average.

Click HERE to read the report.

According to the Louisiana Department of Corrections, of the 128,000-plus incarcerated or on supervision between 2009 and 2015, nearly sixty percent had nonviolent offenses only and close to 18 percent had drug offenses only.

The legislative auditor did the report to look for strategies to reduce incarceration rates for nonviolent offenders at key points in the criminal justice system.

Lake Charles businessman Nick Priloux nearly died in an armed robbery. The fact that he survived has inspired him to do what he can to help those in trouble with the law.  He teaches a faith-based class that includes many on pre-trial diversion.

"It's more than just my opinion and my thoughts.  We have a lot of credibility when we bring the scriptures in and how to use scripture for everyday living, to help these people turn their lives around."

Calcasieu District Attorney John DeRosier said over the past 10 years, his office has extensively expanded its pre-trial diversion program to include non-violent felonies and misdemeanors.

"Our job and our mission is not to put impaired drivers in jail. Our mission is to keep impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel of an automobile and in order to do that, if they have an impairment that is caused by either drugs or alcohol, we want to help treat that impairment and keep that person from being a danger to themselves or the rest of society."

DeRosier said the program has multiple requirements and succeeds in reducing the chance someone will re-offend.