But there is a hidden agenda behind the seemingly good intentions of the Louisiana police force. A majority of Louisiana inmates are housed in for-profit facilities, which must be supplied with a constant stream of prisoners or else the $182 million industry will go bankrupt.
These prisons are run by sheriffs or private companies. If the number of inmates goes down, the sheriff loses money. Meanwhile, inmates often live in deplorable conditions and are provided few rehabilitation programs to ever give them a chance of getting out.
All local jails can offer are GED classes and maybe an inmate-led support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Their rooms are cramped and airless compared with the roomy grounds of state prisons. In a twist of irony, state prisoners who are usually in jail for life can boast numerous education certificates while those serving less than ten years in state prison have less than a fifth-grade reading level.
According to Greater New Orleans, a two-time car burglar can get 24 years without parole. A trio of drug convictions can be enough to land you at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola for the rest of your life.
Now, many politicians, including the governor of Louisiana, are arguing that many of these 40,000 inmates do not need to be locked up for the rest of their lives.
Still, it may take years of reform and blame before public safety actually comes before making money. And the for-profit detention industry is spreading.