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Apr 29, 2010 1:43 AM by Sharlee Jacobs

House Backs Easing Parole Requirements

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Two bills that would tweak Louisiana's
parole system, allowing some prisoners to get out of jail sooner,
will be debated in the state Senate after getting House passage
Wednesday.
      The first proposal by Rep. Pat Smith, D-Baton Rouge, would
increase the amount of "good time" prisoners can earn for good
behavior and would scale back the percentage of their sentences
some violent offenders must serve from 85 percent to 75 percent.
      The bill, passed in a 56-29 vote, would only apply to those
convicted after Aug. 15.
      A second bill, which would allow an inmate to receive parole
with majority rather than unanimous support of the parole board,
received broader support, passing in a 95-1 vote.
      Sponsored by Rep. Fred Mills, D-Parks, the bill only applies to
certain nonviolent offenders who have completed 100 hours of
rehabilitative programming and obtained a high school equivalency
degree. Currently incarcerated inmates would be eligible for these
changes.
      Two other bills regarding parole, one allowing early parole for
elderly inmates and a second that would have let the warden
personally speak to the parole board about an inmate, failed on the
House floor. They can be taken up another time.
     

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