He knew the mic was on. He stared into the camera. Sheriff Steve Prator opened his mouth and lamented the early release of Louisiana inmates because, he said, they’re “good ones that we use every day to wash cars.”
Up in the northwestern corner of the state, law enforcement is none too happy about Act 280, a new law that will reduce Louisiana’s prison population by ten percent and save taxpayers nearly $300 million. The plan is to shift parole eligibility for nonviolent offenders from having served forty percent of their sentence to thirty-five.
For example, if a man were sentenced to 10 years for, say, selling a few joints, he might be eligible for parole after serving 4 years. Under the new law, he could petition for release 6 months early.
But the Sheriff of Caddo Parish is a Republican, and as such is not given to just letting these monsters free to, um, potentially touch marijuana, steal a DVD player, or resist arrest again.
In his press conference this week, Sheriff Prator cited the case of a man who would “get out 7 years early.” Let’s extrapolate the math on that one. If an inmate would normally be eligible after having served forty percent and it was changed to “just” thirty-five, that’s a difference of five percent. Unless Sheriff Prator is using what we here outside the south call “hyperbole,” in order for 7 years to equal five percent of the sentence, he’d have to have been sentenced to 140 years. For a nonviolent offense.
I’m pretty sure what the Sheriff meant was that this example offender would normally be eligible for parole after maybe 7 years and 7 months, and could now potentially get out in March instead of October.
But Sheriff Prator didn’t mince words when it came to what he was really upset about. In the presser, he described the various kinds of boogeymen who would surely lurk under the beds of Louisiana’s children after the state recklessly opens the prisoner floodgates, sending, um, about as many inmates as are normally released every month back into the population.
And then he changed course and said the very ones the state was releasing, “risking our safety for bragging rights and to save money,” were the ones they “use” to change their oil at the police station.
Jesus Christ, if this were any more like a bad action comedy show from 1986, we’d have to pay Roscoe P. Coltrane royalties.
Shaun King took care of the video editing for us. Try not to barf:
In 38 seconds Steve Prattor, Sheriff of Caddo Parish in Louisiana, tells you why he REALLY likes keeping “good” Black men in jail. pic.twitter.com/7YtxixE1rU
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) October 12, 2017
Featured image via Brian Blanco/Getty Images