LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Wednesday is the day when an estimated 1900 offenders statewide will be released from Louisiana prisons as part of the state's new prison reform law.
Officers at the Lake Charles Office of Louisiana Probation and Parole are preparing for the release of offenders that comes as part of prison reform. And Supervisor Leland Hughes says they have been for a while. The office expects up to 120 offenders total from the three parishes of Calcasieu, Cameron and Jeff Davis.
"We have currently 31 officer positions of which 24 are filled and on hand. This office currently supervises approximately 4500 cases, so an additional 120 cases is not that much of an increase to what we're already used to handling," said Hughes.
Hughes points out as new offenders require monitoring others finish. He says their one concern is that offenders from outside this area may be attracted here due to the possibility of jobs.
"We have no way of knowing how many more may come in the following months when they have difficulty finding employment in their home area and wind up deciding to move to this area because of the abundance of jobs," he said.
Yet he says the state headquarters closely monitors the location of those on parole to properly distribute officers.
Part of the reform aims to save money spent for incarceration to reinvest into programs to reduce the number of those who offend again.
"We have to do something different, something smarter, something more effective. Something that still ensures public safety, but does a better job of the task at hand and that is protecting the public as well as re-integrating these people once they do come out of incarceration," said Hughes.
Hughes hopes that savings is used for its intended purpose.
To hear more of our interview with Hughes look for the web extra at www.kplctv.com