In case you ever wondered about the way (some) correctional officers see their inmates, I lead you no further than to Caddo Parish, La., Sheriff Steve Prator, who is ranting and raging mad about new criminal-justice reform laws that will go into effect next month—because it will mean getting rid of cheap labor.
But don’t take my word for it; hear it come from Prator’s own mouth.
According to KSLA-TV, Prator expressed his “concerns” about the Justice Reinvestment Act, scheduled to go into effect next month, because it would provide for the early release of thousands of inmates across the state, including 192 felons in Caddo Parish in the first wave, or so he says.
“There’s ways and things that need to be reformed on the criminal-justice system, but certainly we don’t need to do what we’re about to do,” said Prator.
The Justice Reinvestment Act is made up of 10 bills that were passed by the state Legislature and then signed by Gov. John Bel Edwards in June, in hopes of changing Louisiana’s reputation as the most imprisoned state in the country.
It is the hope that the act will reduce the state’s prison population by 10-12 percent and save some $262 million over the next 10 years.
To Prator, it’s all a waste.
“Simply put, the state of Louisiana is risking our safety for bragging rights and to save money,” he said.
But Prator later would show his whole ass, showing that he really doesn’t care about safety or bragging rights. He is concerned, it would seem, about saving money, but only in the form of cheap or free labor.
“The [prisoners] that you can work, the ones that can pick up trash, the work-release programs—but guess what? Those are the ones that they’re releasing!” Prator fumed in a video clip tweeted out by Shaun King. “In addition to the bad ones … they’re releasing some good ones that we use every day to wash cars, to change the oil in our cars, to cook in the kitchen, to do all that where we save money, well, they’re going to let them out!”
Well, that wasn’t subtle at all. Do tell us how you really feel, Steve.
I know I’m not the only one fed up, because in surveying the video, I found this guy, who is clearly over it all.
I feel you, fam.
Anyway, as KSLA notes, Prator gave out a list of 33 inmates who would be the first to be released on Nov. 1. Some of those on the list did not qualify for release until 2025, mind you, with charges ranging from possession with intent to distribute marijuana and aggravated flight to DWI and illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
However, Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Correction Secretary James Le Blanc told the news station that he wasn’t sure where Prator was getting his information and facts, and cited inaccuracies in Prator’s assessment of the act.
“It’s not like it’s some opening of the gates and everybody’s releasing here,” Le Blanc said. “This is 1,400 inmates that are going to 21 different districts.
“I have all the respect in the world for Sheriff Prator. I just don’t know if he really knows what the numbers look like,” he added.
Le Blanc told KSLA that after the first wave of 1,400 inmates are released, releases would taper down to about 30 a month, and once again, it would only affect nonviolent and non-sex offenders who qualify.
As for the 192 inmates who Prator said were going to be released from Caddo, well, Le Blanc said that as far as he knows, the act only releases 35 come November.
“We can put people that need to be in these beds in. More violent offenders and sex offenders and people that we need to be dealing with and providing the adequate resources and programs to while they’re in prison,” Le Blanc told KSLA.
Read more at KSLA-TV.