Supporters of the Justice Reinvestment Task Force's criminal justice reform legislation have pulled three bills that were scheduled for consideration on Tuesday morning by the Senate's Judiciary C Committee.
John Burkhart, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Louisiana Campaign for Equal Justice, notified supporters on Monday night that the bills would be held until the committee's meeting next week.
The delay was reported to be at least partly attributed to a controversy involving the planned release of a man who pled guilty to raping and murdering a woman in 2000.
The state Parole Board had approved the release of Samuel Galbraith 50 years before the end of his sentence, according to The Advocate. Opponents of some provisions in the Justice Reinvestment package pointed to that release (now rescinded on a technicality) as evidence of what was to come if bills that include early parole of violent criminals become law.
The Louisiana District Attorneys Association has been critical of elements of the legislative package, saying that not all of the implications of the bills have been fully thought through. The LDAA outlined its issues with the Justice Reinvestment initiatives in a report released on April 4.
The primary focus of the legislative package is on finding and funding alternatives to prison for non-violent offenders, which constitute the bulk of the growth in the state's inmate population over the past four decades. There are some provisions in the package which would allow for the release of older felons, including those who committed violent crimes, under certain circumstances.
The committee will consider Sen. Dan Claitor's SB142 which would abolish the death penalty in Louisiana.
Senate Judiciary C is scheduled to convene at 9 a.m. in Senate Meeting Room F. The committee is scheduled to meet again next Tuesday, May 2.