Habitual offender bill advances

Under legislation advanced Thursday by the House Criminal Justice Committee, state Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc would be able to release habitual offenders to intensive parole supervision.

House Bill 670 would require several conditions to be met. It wouldn’t apply to violent offenders or sex offenders. Inmates also would have to be within six months of their projected release date.

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Patricia Smith, usually proposes legislation that the Louisiana District Attorneys Association opposes. This time, the association’s executive director, Pete Adams, was at the table in support of Smith’s bill.

“Somebody needs to take a picture,” joked Smith, D-Baton Rouge, before hugging Adams.

Adams said the bill would save the state money and ensure offenders have job skills training and other assistance before their release.

“It allows them to have intensive supervision which is cheaper than keeping them in jail … This gives them a better chance at making it,” he said.

The bill now advances to the full House for debate.