Imprisonment is a brutal and costly response to violations or possible violations that traumatizes incarcerated people and hurts families and communities. It should be the last option, not the first. Yet the U.S. incarcerates more people, in both absolute numbers and per capita, than any other nation in the world. This broken system has failed to improve public safety, wasted taxpayer money, and devastated Black and brown communities. 

The ACLU of Louisiana’s Smart Justice campaign works to end excessively harsh crime policies that result in mass incarceration and stand in the way of a just and equal society. For years, Louisiana has held the shameful distinction of having the nation’s highest incarceration rate, as a result of extreme sentences and pervasive racial bias.

While the 2017 Justice Reinvestment Package made important reforms that have begun to reduce Louisiana’s prison population, the state’s criminal justice system remains a harmful relic of racial oppression and white supremacy.

The ACLU of Louisiana is committed to building on this progress with proven reforms that make our communities stronger and safer. 

By fighting for reforms to pretrial detention, police practices, indigent defense systems, disproportionate sentencing, and government abuses of authority in the name of fighting crime, and failed drug policies, the ACLU of Louisiana is working to reverse the tide of overincarceration, protect constitutional rights, eliminate racial disparities, and strengthen our communities.