Gov. Bobby Jindal is reportedly considering a veto of legislation some said goes the furthest of any bill passed by the Louisiana Legislature during its recent session to reduce the state’s nation-leading incarceration rate, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, aims to reduce the state’s prison population by giving violent offenders a shot at parole sooner than current law allows. Judge Fredericka “Ricky” Wicker, of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal, said she has heard Jindal might veto the bill.
“Governor Jindal is disquieted by any bill that has any effect on violent offenders,” said Wicker, a former member of the Louisiana Sentencing Commission. The legislation reduces the minimum amount of time violent offenders must serve of their sentence before becoming parole eligible from 85 to 75 percent. The bill is not retroactive, so if adopted, it would only apply to offenders sentenced after the law becomes effective. The current rule requiring violent offenders to serve 85 percent of their sentence doesn’t apply to nonviolent offenders, and the bill won’t affect inmates serving life sentences. The legislation also improves the odds for inmates to get paroled by requiring a majority vote from the parole board, rather than a unanimous one.