Louisiana Crime and Punishment

Louisiana has been called the “world’s prison capital,” with one out of 86 adults is in the prison system.

Louisiana has 115 jails containing 28,315 inmates, according to the 2006 jail census. The prison population in Louisiana’s 12 state prison facilities was 39,299 as of December 31, 2013. In Louisiana, under the supervision of the Division of Probation and Parole, there are over 41,000 on probation and 28,000 on parole.

According to the National Institute of Corrections, Louisiana’s crime rate is about 35 percent higher than the national average. Property crimes (about 87 percent of Louisiana crimes) are 33 percent higher than the national average, and violent crimes (about 13 percent of Louisiana crimes) are about 49 percent higher than the national average.

The Louisiana incarceration rate is almost 114 percent higher than the national average, while Louisiana’s probation rate is actually 19 percent lower than the national average. The number of parolees in Louisiana is 205 percent higher than the rest of the country.

The annual budget for these facilities was $344,700,000. Still, the cost to Louisiana tax payers is about 46 percent less than the national average per inmate.

The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections also provides demographic information. Of the adults in Louisiana’s correctional population, 67.8 percent are black, 31.5 percent are white, and less than one percent are other races. As for sex, 94.1 percent are male and 5.9 percent are female. The average age of the population is 35.9 years old.

Sorting the population by offender class (the number of sequential felonies committed for which an offender has been convicted: 11,609 first offense; 10,801 second offense; 8,150 third offense; 4,549 fourth offense; 2,148 fifth offense; 1,422 subsequent offenses.

Sorting the population’s crimes by parish committed, Caddo Parish (7.3 percent) is behind only East Baton Rouge Parish (8.0 percent), Jefferson Parish (11.7 percent), and Orleans Parish (15.0 percent).

Sorting the population by the most serious crime committed: violent crimes make up 42.5 percent; drug crimes make up 24.5 percent; property crimes make up 18.1 percent; and all other crimes make up the remaining 15.0 percent.

The average sentence length of the Louisiana’s adult correctional population is 15 years. But the average time served is only 5.2 years.


Jean-Paul Guidry is a criminal lawyer in Shreveport. If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, call J.P. now at 318-865-4878 for a free consultation.

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