21 November 2009

bankrupt nation will see changes in the criminal justice system

click picture to enlargelouisiana state penitentiary via google earth

in this piece by sarah chacko, from the baton rouge morning advocate, we learn that it costs $54.50 per day to lock-up one state prisoner within angola penitentiary. angola has a population of some 5,108 inmates. more than half are in for life.

warden burl cain says that he has 200 prisoners he believes are rehabilitated, that he would like to release. cutting 200 loose would save the taxpayers around $4 million a year.

the warden has already cut out $12 million from his budget:
[B]y double-bunking inmates, replacing some guards with cameras, and cutting overtime for the 24-7 operation of the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.“Some of these things we can’t keep doing,” Cain said.
enter state rep. ernest wooton and the house administration of criminal justice committee which he chairs.
la. house administration of criminal justice committee

“We make a lot of laws that result with people ending up here,” said Wooton, R-Belle Chasse.
photo: lasers
Cain said he cannot speak to the state Parole Board on behalf of inmates unless asked. He has seen bad inmates leave and good inmates stay, he said.

Cain said he has pursued legislation in the past to let a prison representative be a non-voting board member. Wooton and other legislators said they would work on legislation to make that happen.

“If you’re going to judge me by how many people come back, let me have a say in who goes out,” Cain said.

rapides parish district attorney jam downs discusses crime in the parish from this march 2009 long form interview.