Faith leaders from across Louisiana will converge on the state Capitol in Baton Rouge on Tuesday (March 31) to advocate for changes to the state’s incarceration policies, including lowering penalties for marijuana possession and allowing courts to waive mandatory minimum sentences.
The morning rally will be hosted by a number faith-based groups, including the New Orleans chapter of PICO (People Improving Communities through Organizing), Northshore Black Elected Officials, New Jim Crow, Capital Area Re-entry Coalition and the MICAH Project of New Orleans.
“Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the world — even higher than China and Russia,” a press release announcing the rally stated. “Mass incarceration is particularly harmful to African-American communities.”
In supporting four specific pieces of legislation, the group hopes “to reform the policies that drive the mass incarceration crisis in the state and to raise awareness about the crisis that is tearing apart families, especially those in communities of color.”
The group will advocate in favor of the following four bills:
- Senate Bill 323 by state Sens. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans and Robert Adley, R-Benton. The bill would reduce all penalties for any marijuana possession offense to a maximum $100 fine or six months in prison.