Flozell Daniels Jr. appointed by Governor to task force focused on justice reinvestment efforts


"This task force has the opportunity to engage our community advocates as well as our system leaders in effecting the kind of legislative policies to make for a more equitable Louisiana." -- Flozell Daniels Jr.

Foundation for Louisiana President and CEO Flozell Daniels Jr. has been appointed to serve as the designee for Gov. John Bel Edwards on the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Task Force that hopes to reduce its nation-leading incarceration rate, high violent-crime rate, and a ballooning state deficit.

Working in partnership with the Pew Charitable Trust, the dozen or so members of the committee will attempt to emphasize data and proven common-sense results over politics and other considerations to reform sentencing guidelines, decrease the prison population and turn the tide on recidivism. Solutions are due in advance of the 2017 legislative session, which Gov. Edwards hopes to use to focus on these issues.

As Gov. Edwards’ designee, Daniels plans to be a strong voice as the committee moves forward and tackles painful realities, including a state incarceration rate that has increased 35 percent since the mid-1990s — and double the nation’s average, with an annual price tag of as much as $700 million.

“We know from our research that the state of Louisiana’s notoriety as the prison capitol of the world comes in large part from decades of inequitable and injurious policies, but we also know that when you use data and best practices and invest in the community, we can turn the tide,” Daniels said. “The legislature’s recent passing of the ‘Ban the Box’ initiative, which will prevent employers from asking about a prospective employee’s incarceration record on their job-application form, is a positive step forward. This task force has the opportunity to engage our community advocates as well as our system leaders in effecting the kind of legislative policies to make for a more equitable Louisiana.”

Prior to this appointment, Daniels served as co-chair of the Re-entry Committee of the Orleans Parish Jail Size Task Force that led to reductions in the New Orleans jail by nearly 50 percent over the last five years.

The state coalition is chaired by Department of Public Safety & Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc and includes representatives from the judicial and law-enforcement communities as well as legislators and community leaders:

Foundation for Louisiana President & CEO Flozell Daniels Jr., Governor’s designee
Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson
Rep. Terry Landry (D-New Iberia), Speaker of the House’s designee
Rep. Walt Leger (D-New Orleans), House Speaker Pro-Tempore
Rep. Sherman Q. Mack (R-Albany), chairman, House Committee on Administration of Criminal Justice
Sen. Daniel Martiny (R-Metairie), Senate President’s designee
Family Forum President Gene Mills, Senate President Pro-Tempore’s designee
Sen. Dan Claitor (R-Baton Rouge), chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary C
West Baton Rouge Sheriff Mike Cazes, President, Louisiana Sheriffs Association
16th Judicial District Attorney Bofill “Bo” Duhe, President, Louisiana District Attorneys Association
19th Judicial District Judge Bonnie Jackson
State Public Defender Jay Dixon

This effort comes one year after the city of New Orleans received a $150,000 MacArthur grant to study ways to create a fairer, more effective local justice system.

The task force has scheduled several meetings through March 2017, including several working subgroup meetings that will begin in December. Here’s a look at the eight meetings and their topics:

Task Force Meeting No. 1: June 17, 2016 (National trends presentation)
Task Force Meeting No. 2: Aug. 11, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (Data drivers presentation, Part I)
Task Force Meeting No. 3: Sept. 23, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (Data drivers presentation, Park II)
Task Force Meeting No. 4: Oct. 21, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. (Evidence-based practices presentation)
Task Force Meeting No. 5: Nov. 17, 1 p.m.-4 p.m. (Intro to policy development)
Working Subgroups Round #1: Dec. 13-14
Working Subgroups Round #2: Jan. 4-5, 2017
Working Subgroups Round #3: Jan. 19-20, 2017
Task Force Meeting No. 6: Jan. 20, 2017, 1 p.m.-3 p.m. (Report-out of subgroup findings)
Working Subgroups Round #4: Feb. 1-2, 2017
Task Force Meeting No. 7: Feb. 23, 2017, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (Presentation of final subgroup recommendations)
Task Force Meeting No. 8: March 16, 2017, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (Release of Commission report and final recommendations)