John Bel Edwards on Crime



Reduce highest incarceration rate in the nation

Edwards has championed criminal justice reform: "For 40 years, Louisiana took the approach that we were just going to put more people in prison, keep them there longer and pay whatever it cost. We couldn't afford it, and we were not safer as a result."

In fact, Louisiana had the highest incarceration rate in the nation until this year, when it fell below Oklahoma's. Edwards explains how he shed that distinction by releasing some nonviolent offenders early and then reimagining the whole system. As a result, he says, "we were able to save 12 million dollars last fiscal year alone, and we're going to reinvest eight million of that into making sure that people are successful upon re-entry" into society. Edwards has also restarted the process of commuting sentences; as of October, he has approved 119 of the 164 pardons recommended by the state's Pardon Board during his term. (His predecessor, Bobby Jindal, had approved only 23 pardons during the same point in his first term.)

Source: America Magazine on 2019 Louisiana gubernatorial race , Dec 14, 2018

No executions until better lethal drugs found

On the issue of the death penalty, Mr. Edwards has been circumspect, declining to take a position on efforts to ban the punishment in Louisiana. At the same time, the Edwards administration has supported a federal court order that prohibits executions because pharmaceutical companies refuse to provide the drugs needed for lethal injections under Louisiana law. Because of the inability to obtain these specific drugs, Louisiana has not carried out an execution since 2010.
Source: America Magazine on 2019 Louisiana gubernatorial race , Dec 14, 2018

Reduce incarceration rate of non-violent offenders

I'm asking that we work together to make Louisiana smart on crime. What we're doing now is not working for our state.

Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country, and we lock people up at a rate of nearly twice the national average. But our crime rates are comparable to other southern states. As elected officials, we have an obligation to acknowledge when an aspect of our government is broken and we must work together to find a solution.

In 2015, we made a commitment to re- If adopted into law, this package will safely reduce our prison population by 13%, and it will save taxpayers over $300 million over the next decade.

Source: 2017 Louisiana State of the State address , Apr 10, 2017

Blue Lives Matter: targeting police officer is a hate crime

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards called for a federal civil rights investigation into the latest fatal police shooting of a black man in the United States. But [two months prior], Edwards signed a bill into law that makes targeting a police officer a hate crime. Passage of such bills at the state level is a top priority for a national organization called Blue Lives Matter, which was formed in response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

[Two Louisiana shootings were captured on video, on which] "police killed a black man who was minding his own business," says the director of ACLU-LA. But it was the civil rights of police officers that Edwards was concerned about in May, as if theirs were being routinely violated.

The new law places police officers, firefighters, and EMTs under protection from hate crimes: A defendant convicted of a felony could get an extra five years in prison with hard labor and a $5,000 fine.

Source: The Intercept interview of ACLU-Louisiana staff , Jul 7, 2016

End tax giveaways but keep funding for first responders

Edwards opposes a bill that would reduce police & fireman pay: "I will not support a reduction in the supplemental pay for the first responders who put their lives on the line everyday for our public safety," Edwards said. "We are not going to cut our way to prosperity or to safer communities."

Edwards said he's not against more flexibility in the budgeting process, but that "more flexibility alone won't fix the structural problems in our budget that have led to the sweeping of these dedicated funds by Bobby Jindal, and the drastic cuts he has made to higher education and healthcare."

As to solutions to the current budget conundrum, Edwards pointed to a recent study that examined the question of whether all of the current $7 billion in annual tax giveaways are productive for the state's economy. "It is time to invest in our people. We can start by reducing or eliminating the parts of tax giveaways that just aren't producing what they promised," said Edwards.

Source: 2015 Gubernatorial campaign website JohnBelForLouisiana.com , Sep 9, 2015

Let New Orleans police itself; remove state police soon

Three of the four Louisiana gubernatorial candidates said the extra Louisiana State Police presence in the French Quarter should probably not remain in New Orleans "indefinitely"--and will eventually have to be withdrawn.

"No great city is going to be great for long if it doesn't have the adequate ability to police itself," said state Rep. John Bel Edwards, the only Democratic candidate running for governor.

Edwards, Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne agreed the extra state troopers in the French Quarter are needed now. But New Orleans should probably provide the additional law enforcement itself eventually. Edwards was the most emphatic about establishing a timeline for state police withdrawal. Dardenne and Angelle were a bit more speculative about when the troopers should be pulled out of New Orleans.

Source: Times-Picayune on 2015 Louisiana gubernatorial debate , Aug 8, 2015

Rehab for criminals; enforce hate crime & white collar crime

Source: 2006 State Congressional National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 2006

Other governors on Crime: John Bel Edwards on other issues:
LA Gubernatorial:
Charles Boustany
Eddie Rispone
John Neely Kennedy
Ralph Abraham
LA Senatorial:
Antoine Pierce
Bill Cassidy
Charles Boustany
Foster Campbell
John Fleming
John Neely Kennedy
Joseph Cao
Rob Maness
Thomas Clements

Gubernatorial Debates 2019:
Bevin(R) vs.Goforth(R,lost primary) vs.Adkins(D,lost primary) vs.Beshear(D) vs.Edelen(D,lost primary)
Edwards(D) vs.Rispone(R) vs.Abraham(R) vs.Kennedy(R,declined)
Bryant(R,retiring) vs.Foster(R) vs.Hood(D) vs.Reeves(R) vs.Waller(R)

Gubernatorial Debates 2021:
Murphy(D) vs.Ciattarelli(R)
Northam(D,term-limited) vs.Herring(D) vs.Chase(R) vs.Fairfax(D)

Gubernatorial Debates 2020:
DE: vs.Carney(incumbent) vs.Williams(D)
IN: vs.Holcomb(incumbent) vs.Melton(D) vs.Myers(D)
MO: Parson(incumbent) vs.Galloway(D) vs.Neely(R)
MT: Bullock(retiring) vs.Fox(R) vs.Perry(R) vs.Gianforte(R) vs.Stapleton(R) vs.Olszewski(R) vs.Neill(D) vs.Schreiner(D) vs.Cooney(D) vs.Williams(D)
NC: Cooper(incumbent) vs.Forest(R) vs.Grange(R)
ND: Burgum(incumbent) vs.Coachman(R) vs.Lenz(D)
NH: Sununu(incumbent) vs.Volinsky(D) vs. fsFeltes(D)
PR: Rossello(D) vs.Garced(D) vs.Pierluisi(D)
UT: Herbert(retiring) vs.Huntsman(R) vs.Cox(R) vs.Burningham(R) vs.Newton(D) vs.Hughes(R)
VT: Scott(incumbent) vs.Holcombe(D) vs.Zuckerman(D)
WA: Inslee(incumbent) vs.Bryant(R) vs.Fortunato(R)
WV: Justice(incumbent) vs.Folk(R) vs.Thrasher(R) vs.Vanover(D) vs.Smith(D) vs.Ron Stollings(D)
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Page last updated: Apr 17, 2020