State Fact Sheet

Public Safety in Louisiana



Public Safety Performance Project > State Work > Louisiana

With one in 55 adults behind bars as of 2008, Louisiana has the highest rate of incarceration of any state in the United States—nearly double the national average. In order to house this population, prison spending in the state jumped from $106 to $548 million between 1983 and 2008. Despite this huge increase, Louisiana’s violent crime rate remains one of the highest in the country.

In January 2010, Governor Bobby Jindal and other state leaders announced the launch of an effort to find cost-effective public safety solutions. With assistance from the Vera Institute of Justice, in partnership with Pew and the U.S. Department of Justice, the state sentencing commission analyzed data, audited corrections and community supervision policies, and consulted stakeholders to develop policy recommendations. 

This intensive effort led to a series of legislative reforms that were enacted in Louisiana’s 2011 and 2012 legislative sessions and signed into law by Governor Jindal. These bills revise and simplify “good time” and earned time statutes; expand parole eligibility for first and second-time offenders; allow for the waiver of mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenders if the prosecutor, defense counsel and judge agrees; establish administrative sanctions for parole and probation violations; and expand Louisiana’s reentry courts. They are projected to save Louisiana over $243 million over 10 years.

Fact Sheet | June 6, 2012
Time Served in Louisianaarrow

Fact Sheet | January 2012
The Price of Prisonsarrow

Fact Sheet | March 2, 2009
1 in 31: The Long Rearch of American Correctionsarrow


Media Coverage | May 25, 2012
Plantations, Prisons and Profits
Louisiana is the world’s prison capital. The state imprisons more of its people, per head, than any of its U.S. counterparts. arrow

Media Coverage | May 2012
Louisiana Incarceratedarrow

Media Coverage | July 5, 2011
Louisiana Sentencing Commission Bills Become Law
Today, Governor Bobby Jindal signed five Louisiana Sentencing Commission bills into law.  arrow

Press Release  | January 20, 2011
Governor Jindal Announces LA Selected for Pew Partnership to Reform LA Criminal Justice Systemarrow

January 14, 2013
Public Safety Performance Project
One in 31