Feb 7, 2014 5:52 PM by Akeam Ashford
With the 2014 legislative session just three weeks away, KATC is starting to get a look at some of the bills lawmakers are working on.
House Bill 8 (HB-8) by state Rep. Dalton Honore, D-Baton Rouge, would change how long an inmate sentenced to life would have to wait to file for a pardon or commutation of sentence after being denied by the Board of Pardons.
If an inmate is denied parole the first time around, Honore' wants to reduce the time it takes to re-apply from seven years down to five.
State Rep. Terry Landry, D-New Iberia, serves on the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee. He has his hesitations about HB-8.
"I'm concerned about the victims, whether it's proper to have them come every five years and relive the tragedy of this sentencing. I also realize if people are sentenced and don't have any hope that it has a tendency to diminish their purpose in life. So when I say I'm conflicted, I have to way both sides of this issue," Landry said.
Statistics, however, might not help HB-8. According to Lafayette Parish's Director of Corrections Rob Reardon, 65 percent of inmates who are released back into society are re-arrested in three years.
"There has to be a desire on the individual to want to be rehabilitated. Ultimately, what we do here is we develop skill sets in them that allows them to reintegrate into society again," Reardon said.
Lawmakers have already debated this application process in the past. Back in 2004, the time it takes for a second-chance at a parole board was actually increased, going from six years to the current seven.
Legislators will head to Baton Rouge March, 10th.