Bill making ‘good time’ release harder for some vetoed

June 7, 2022 GMT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A bill increasing the amount of time some non-violent offenders must spend in prison before earning good-behavior release or parole was vetoed Tuesday by Gov. John Bel Edwards, who called it a “significant rollback” of the state’s 2017 prison reform efforts.

The measure would have forced prisoners convicted of four or more non-violent offenses to serve more time before they could earn early release for good behavior or become eligible for parole.

The bill passed during the legislative session that ended Monday. In his Tuesday veto message Edwards said the 2017 reform bill that led to earlier releases of non-violent offenders has enabled the state to fund more programs aimed at reducing recidivism.

“These efforts are working well an we should not change course,” Edwards said in his veto message.

In a committee hearing during the legislative session, the bill’s author argued that repeat offenders are getting out of prison before they can take advantage of such programs.

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“They’re not even getting the benefit because they’re rolling out, they’re back in, and they’re rolling out again,” Rep. Debbie Villio, a Kenner Republican, said, according to an account of the committee hearing in The Advocate.