A look at the tough-on-crime bills Louisiana lawmakers passed during a Special Session

Louisiana’s Republican-dominated legislature concluded a two-week special session Thursday that was called to address one of the state’s most pressing issues — violent crime.

During the Session lawmakers passed a slew of tough-on-crime policies, including expanding death row execution methods, charging 17-year-olds as adults and eliminating parole for most people who are jailed in the future.

The bills enjoy broad GOP support, but Democrats fear they won’t deter crime and will actually exacerbate Louisiana’s ailing and crowded prison system.

Here’s a look at the approved bills, which now head to the desk of Republican Gov. Jeff Landry to be signed into law or vetoed.

Death penalty

Seeking to resume death row executions after a 14-year pause, the Legislature passed a bill that adds the use of nitrogen gas and electrocution as methods to carry out the death penalty.

Currently 58 people sit on Louisiana’s death row. No executions are scheduled at the moment.

Like most states that have capital punishment, Louisiana has relied on lethal injection. But amid legal battles and challenges over the drugs involved, some states have explored other methods.

Proponents of expanding the allowed execution methods say it’s past time for the state to uphold “contractual obligations” between victims’ families and the state. Opponents question the legality of the proposed methods, saying they could amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

Juvenile offenders

Republicans say youths are terrorizing cities with violent carjackings, shootings and homicides.

As a result, lawmakers passed a bill that will treat all 17-year-olds charged with crimes, including misdemeanors, as adults. The measure is a rollback of the state’s “Raise the Age” law.

While critics of the bill agree that juvenile lawbreakers should be held accountable, they have raised safety and recidivism concerns.




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