NEW ORLEANS — Members of an organization that represents Louisiana crime victims say they’d like the state to reconsider a program that allows some inmates to be released early with good behavior.
Retired New Orleans Detective Ivrin Magri founded Crimefighters and says change is needed.
“The city is in a lawless state in many aspects, people are moving, businesses are leaving,” said Magri. “We don't have safety. People need to feel secure in their homes.”
Magri considers himself a voice for those who have lived through a violent attack or had someone close to them murdered. He says the organization is now focusing on cutting down crime with harsher punishment for repeat offenders.
When Prison Reform Act 280 passed in 2017 it allowed some inmates to reduce their sentences through good behavior if they were not convicted of violent or sex crimes. However, Magri feels victims are not the focus of the legislation.
“There is nothing reform about it, instead it’s taking away poor victim’s rights,” said Magri. “Victims are the forgotten voice.”
Republican Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser is a board member of Crimefighters and says he is not ready to pull the plug on reform just yet.
“I support legislation that gives some people a second chance but we can't just because they served so much time let them back on the street if there's a high probability they return and recommit,” said Nungesser. “I think there needs to be more discussion before we go back and start tweaking laws because it sounds or looks good on paper.”
Nungesser does admit something needs to change about the way crime is handled in Louisiana.
“Something has got to be done,” said Nungesser. “People are afraid and we can’t sugarcoat that.”