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Louisiana looks at new ways to reduce prison costs

If you're at a certain age, life starts to become a little more difficult. You may start to need assistance doing your everyday tasks or start to suffer from illnesses you never had in the past.

This is a problem many of the elderly face, and it's something that Louisiana lawmakers are now considering when it comes to prison terms.

How old is too old to go to prison? How long is simply too long?

According to the news, extreme sentences cost the state and taxpayers much of the budget. On top of that, many of these long-time inmates age in the prison system, eventually needing medical care and a higher number of medical visits in general.

What's the solution to this problem? Some would say to lessen the sentences for violent offenders, who are the ones most likely to spend their lives in prison. However, the opposition says that's not good enough, especially if those individuals could be a danger to society as a whole.

Those who want to cut down on spending believe focusing on reducing prison sentences for non-violent offenders is the answer. Lower-level offenders are potentially good choices for rehabilitation, too. That could mean more people working and supporting the state through their taxes and by giving back to the community.

The Louisiana District Attorneys Association does not agree with offering early releases to those serving life in prison, and it does not agree with changing the sentences of those already in prison. Reform could work, especially when you consider that Louisiana ends up putting more of its residents in prison than any other place in the entire world. Simply reducing the prison sentences for non-violent crimes would be a substantial step forward.

Source: HoumaToday.com, "How old is too old for prison? La. lawmakers consider the question," Bryn Stole, John Simerman, April 12, 2017

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