Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed bills he said will make the criminal justice system run more efficiently, reports The Advocate in Baton Rouge. One could result in first-time offenders serving less time in prison while another seeks to clarify the amount of time toward release that inmates are credited for good behavior. The legislation stemmed from recommendations by judges, attorneys, and law enforcement officials on the Louisiana Sentencing Commission.
First-time offenders convicted of nonviolent or non-sex-related offenses now must serve a third of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole. The new law, applying to people sentenced after Aug. 15, cuts the time to 25 percent. The goal is to encourage inmates to participate in prison programs that increase their parole chances. The programs include drug rehabilitation and high school diploma equivalency courses. Another new law concerns complicated rules on “good time,’ the amount of time taken off an inmate’s sentence for good behavior.