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Conservative business groups help carry criminal justice reforms to victory in Louisiana legislature

Traditionally, it's been Louisiana's Democrats and liberal social justice advocates who have pushed for reforms in the state's criminal justice system — asking for more lenient drug sentences, programs to rehabilitate criminals and softer penalties for nonviolent offenders. Those efforts have always run into stiff headwinds in the form of policymakers who preferred a "tough on crime" approach.
 
But this year, a Republican-dominated Legislature signed off by large margins on sweeping changes that will trim jail sentences and expand parole opportunities to offenders in jail — and, analysts predict, will reduce the overall jail population by 10 percent over a decade.

 

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