Louisiana House members support probation extension bill

<p class="p1">BATON ROUGE — Southwest Louisiana House members supported legislation here that rolls back a probation change that was approved last year as part of a 10-bill criminal justice reform package.</p><p class="p3">House Bill 195 by Rep. Sherman Mack, R-Albany, increases a person’s probation period from three to five years. It was approved 61-30 and moves to the Senate. Mack said a longer probation would allow judges more latitude and would ultimately keep offenders out of prison.</p><p class="p3">Voting for the bill were Reps. Mark Abraham, R-Lake Charles; James Armes, D-Leesville; Mike Danahay, D-Sulphur; Stephen Dwight, R-Moss Bluff; A.B. Franklin, D-Lake Charles; and Frank Howard, R-Many. Reps. Johnny Guinn, R-Jennings; Bob Hensgens, R-Abbeville; and Dorothy Sue Hill, D-Dry Creek, who is on a week’s medical leave, were all recorded as absent..</p><p class="p3">Rep. Joe Marino, No Party, Gretna, was chief spokesman for the opposition. He said supporters of the Mack bill weren’t giving criminal justice reform a chance to prove its success. Opponents are worried about their re-election chances, he said, but they would be supported when the reform effort is successful.</p><p class="p3">Marino said the longer probation will increase the workload of probation and parole officers when each is already handling 140 cases. He said the change isn’t minor, but a substantial setback. </p><p class="p3">Judges wanted the major tweak to last year’s change to give them more authority to extend probation, Mack said, and more authority over earned (good-time) compliance credits they receive while on probation. </p><p class="p3">Mack said the Louisiana District Attorneys Association wanted the change. </p><p class="p3">Gov. John Bel Edwards advocated for last year’s changes that he said will reduce the state’s No. 1 incarceration record and save costs involved that money can be used for better retraining of inmates before they leave prison. </p><p class="p3">He opposed the probation change.</p><p class="p3">District attorneys wanted the change because they said persons preferred to stay on probation for 18 months (half of the three years if on good behavior) rather than participate in drug and other specialty courts.</p><p class="p3">Other legislation on the agenda deals with restitution payments by offenders. </p>

Crime

Jurors take less than 30 minutes to convict Fontenot of murder

Crime

Sheriff: Body found on the side of the road

life

Team Green Wednesday recycling drop-off schedule has changed

Local News

PHOTO GALLERY: Veterans Cemetery holds burial for seven unclaimed veterans

Business

Commonwealth LNG accused of mowing over threatened bird habitat

Local News

Biden announces Israel has offered a three-part proposal to end the war in Gaza

Local News

Release of 1M barrels of gas ‘not likely’ to ease price at pump

Crime

LC man charged with child porn possession

Local News

Scooter Hobbs column: Everything you need to know (and more) about LSU opponent

Local News

Lake Charles, Sulphur populations down, but Hunter says news isn’t all bad

life

STEM-centric Saturday: Phillips 66 STEM Family Fun Day in the Park this weekend

Local News

Four local educators finalists for state teacher, principal of the year

Crime

Trial begins for man accused in fatal Sherry Street shooting

Crime

GUILTY: Trump becomes first former US president convicted of felony crimes

Crime

Doomsday plot: Idaho jury convicts Chad Daybell of killing wife and girlfriend’s 2 children

Local News

WEATHER UPDATE: Potential for severe storms into Saturday

Local News

Sowela awarded nearly $300,000 to support mental health intiativies

Local News

Louisiana may soon require public school classrooms to display the Ten Commandments

Crime

Jury in Trump trial resume deliberations after asking to rehear testimony

Crime

Two injured in Wednesday shooting

life

Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office joins ‘Click It Or Ticket’ campaign

Local News

LDH urges precautions for mosquitoes to protect against West Nile, dengue

Local News

SUV pulled from same waterway where body recovered earlier this week

Crime

LCPD: Ice pick stabbing after fight breaks out in car