Kennedy opposes national criminal justice reform bill

December 12, 2018 - 4:43 pm


Congress is set to vote this month on a criminal justice reform bill that would give judges more leeway in sentencing non-violent offenders, and would increase funding for rehabilitation programs for prisoners. The bill is backed by President Trump, but opposed by Senator John Kennedy and other Republicans.

Kennedy says it’s a reform effort similar to the one enacted by Governor Edwards.

“People in my state are being killed because of the so-called criminal justice reforms that were put in place by my governor.”

The bill had a bi-partisan coalition in the Senate of 32 signatures as of Monday.

Kennedy and other Republicans say they’re concerned the legislation would lead to more prisoners getting out of jail who could potentially be violent individuals. Kennedy says there’s a number of incidents in Louisiana where a prisoner was released early under the new guidelines, and went on to commit a crime.

“The governor and his department of corrections said we’re only going to release non-violent criminals. Well somebody forgot to tell the criminals that they were non-violent.”

The bill is being supported by a wide array of civil rights organizations, along with a growing contingent of conservatives who question the effectiveness of 90’s era mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Kennedy says law enforcement in Louisiana is afraid to publicly voice this opinion due to potential retaliation, but…

“If you ask nine out of ten law enforcement officials in my state, privately, if they support it, they’ll tell you no, and the tenth is probably lying.”

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