On Tuesday, November 14, a task force made up of Caddo Parish leaders released a report with 16 recommendations to address the chronic overcrowding of the Caddo Correctional Center (CCC). The release of the report follows the parish’s year-long engagement in a local Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) effort where the Crime and Justice Institute (CJI) assisted parish leaders in evaluating a decade’s worth of local criminal justice data to identify the causes of the CCC’s overcrowding.
Caddo Parish sought technical assistance in September 2022 from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs. This was at the request of Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator calling for local justice partners to make a concerted effort to address jail overcrowding – a longstanding problem that has not only impacted the safety of individuals working and living in the CCC but also has strained resources across the parish. The jail population has grown 12 percent over the past decade, driven by the near doubling of the average length of time a person remains at jail awaiting trial. This increase stems from significant growth in bail amounts (up 259 percent since 2012) that individuals cannot afford to pay and the number of days for a case to conclude in court (up 144 percent since 2014). Left unchecked, the jail population is expected to exceed 1,600 by 2023 and cost the parish upwards of $5.3 million.
The 16 recommendations included in this report are designed to address these drivers through a variety of mechanisms. This includes improving cross-agency collaboration and information sharing, enhancing case processing time through the court system, reserving space at the CCC for the top public safety concerns, and reducing recidivism. The task force has already begun discussions on how to implement these recommendations to ensure that the population can be safely reduced, and the local criminal justice system can be more efficient and fair. “I am heartened that community leaders were able to come together and work as a team to address these systemic issues,” said Erica Bryant, Caddo Parish Administrator. The implementation of these recommendations will be overseen by the task force members, now officially the Caddo Parish Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.
Read the full report here.
Read the key takeaways here.