Gov. Jeff Landry’s plan to unravel Louisiana’s criminal justice reforms continued its rushed march through the Legislature on Monday, despite there being no evidence that it would actually reduce crime. It would, however, increase state spending on incarceration. Tulane’s Anita Raj, in a guest column for the Louisiana Illuminator, explains how incarcerating minors as adults hurts children and the state’s economic security: 

A study of 16- and 17-year-olds placed in adult facilities compared with a comparable group of youth placed in juvenile facilities found that 24 years after their sentencing, those held in adult facilities showed higher rates of recidivism, took less time to reoffend and committed a greater number of total offenses. … A study of youth incarcerated as minors demographically matched with those not incarcerated shows incarcerated youth have fewer assets, greater debt and lower net worth by age 30, with observed effects partially explained by loss of education and unemployment.

Marc A. Levin, chief policy counsel for the Council on Criminal Justice, and Scott Peyton of Right On Crime, in a guest column for the Times Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate, explain how proposals to end parole and gut good-time credits aren’t based in facts: 

The question isn’t should Louisiana be tough on crime, but instead whether the state will muster the conviction to insist on achieving real results — not just political fodder. Parole and good time credits are integral to a system designed to not only punish, but also provide a chance for rehabilitation and redemption. Let’s fight crime without fighting the facts on what works to make us safer.

Insurance changes benefit companies, not customers
Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple wants insurance companies to have more freedom to raise premiums, less oversight from state regulators, and wants to eliminate a state rule that bars companies from dropping longtime customers. The proposals were part of an industry-friendly package of changes that Temple announced on Monday. The Times Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate’s Sam Karlin reports

All together, the plan represents a broad effort to cut back on regulations and make the state’s insurance market friendlier to companies, in the hopes of attracting more competitors and eventually lowering rates. … “Commissioner Temple continues to blame the consumer who asserts their claim instead of the insurer who fails to honor their contract with the policyholder,” [Executive Director of the advocacy group Real Reform Louisiana, Ben] Riggs said in a statement, “His focus is on the same old industry-backed proposals that further stack the deck in favor of big insurance companies at the consumer’s expense.”

Louisiana is bad place to be a woman 
Louisiana is one of the worst states for women to live, according to a new study from WalletHub. The study ranked the Pelican State 50th overall in its comparison of all states and the District of Columbia. The Shreveport Times’ Greg Hilburn explains where the state fell in certain categories:

Among Louisiana’s individual rankings among 25 metrics considered by WalletHub: median earnings, 39th; unemployment rate, 34th; percentage in poverty, 50th; business owners, 30th; high school graduation rate, 46th, percentage who voted in the presidential election, 46th; uninsured rate, 25th; life expectancy, 49th; quality of women’s hospitals, 31st. 

It’s just the latest example of Louisiana receiving low marks for its treatment of women.

Last spring a WalletHub study ranked Louisiana as the worst state in America for working mothers with data showing moms here are shortchanged on everything from pay to childcare. America’s Health Ratings from the United Health Foundation listed Louisiana as the worst state for women and children’s health in 2023. And last year’s Kids Count report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation ranked Louisiana 49th for child well-being. 

Reality check: Ending Louisiana’s “brain drain” and attracting young, educated professionals from other areas of the country must start with making our state more attractive to women, who now make up a majority of college students and recent graduates. This includes strengthening access to quality maternal care and paid leave and ending draconian abortion policies and attacks on people’s sexual identity and gender. 

Literacy program not meeting needs of state
The Louisiana Legislature created a statewide literacy program in 2022 in an attempt to combat disappointingly low reading scores, but failed to provide any funding for it. Recent reporting found that  fewer than 1% of eligible students are actually participating in tutoring sessions, and much of the program’s funding has been reallocated. High requirements and low pay for tutors and lack of public awareness were contributing factors to the anemic participation. A Times Picayune | Baton Rouge Advocate editorial urges leaders to expand the program to meet serious unmet needs in our state:

We’re not suggesting the program be mandatory, just more available. Officials hope to expand the program to offer tutoring in math as well as reading to eligible students in every grade, which they estimate will cost just $5 million. That’s not aiming very high, considering the need. If state officials really want to improve literacy and math skills, they should allocate enough money to put tutors in schools so that they are readily available for students who need them. They owe that much to kids — and to taxpayers.

Number of the Day
50th – Louisiana’s national ranking for living standards for women. The study ranked all states and the District of Columbia across 25 categories, including median earnings, percentage of women in poverty and life expectancy. (Source: WalletHub)