Reducing Incarceration for Technical Violations in Louisiana
Evaluation of revocation cap shows cost savings, less crime
In 2007, Louisiana lawmakers unanimously approved legislation that set a 90-day limit on the incarceration in jail or prison of those whose probation or parole has been revoked for the first time for violating the rules of their community supervision. Lawmakers passed the legislation, Act 402 (House Bill 423), to prioritize jail and prison beds for serious offenders and steer lower-level offenders to less expensive and potentially more effective alternatives.
An independent evaluation of the policy commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts, supplemented by additional research conducted by Pew, concluded that Louisiana’s 90-day revocation limit has:
- Reduced the average length of incarceration for first-time technical revocations in Louisiana by 281 days, or 9.2 months.
- Maintained public safety, with returns to custody for new crimes declining from 7.9 percent to 6.2 percent, a 22 percent decrease.
- Resulted in a net savings of approximately 2,034 jail and prison beds a year.
- Saved taxpayers an average of $17.6 million in annual corrections costs.
This brief summarizes these findings and looks ahead to the longer-term implications of Act 402 for Louisiana.