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Louisiana Prison Chief Who Supported Criminal Justice Reforms To Stay On Under New Governor

Louisiana's prisons chief, Jimmy Leblanc, who helped implement former Gov. John Bel Edwards' bipartisan criminal justice overhaul at the State Penitentiary at Angola and other facilities, will stay in that post under the state’s new Governor, Jeff Landry.  Landry has sought to roll back some of those efforts at public safety reform, pushing instead for legislation that lengthens some sentences and that makes some juvenile criminal records public, reports. Landry has said those steps are major needs in the state's public safety system. But LeBlanc's reappointment signals that for now, the two men will work together, at least for now.

"As I continue my service as the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections under Gov. Landry, the department will work tirelessly to enhance public safety by ensuring our state's prisons are safe and secure, providing evidence-based educational and rehabilitative programming to those returning to our communities, and ensuring strong oversight of those on probation and parole supervision," LeBlanc said in a statement. LeBlanc took over the Department of Corrections 16 years ago under then-Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican who offered minimal opportunities for early release to state prisoners. But he went on to play a major role in implementing the bipartisan public safety overhaul ushered in by Edwards, a Democrat. 

After years of pleading for a bigger chunk of the state’s tight budget during the Jindal years, LeBlanc during Edwards' term oversaw an effort to invest millions of dollars — savings from Louisiana’s 2017 criminal justice overhaul, which slashed the overall prison population by more than 12% — into programs to better prepare inmates for life after release.


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