Chief Nikeo Collins shares a response to concerned citizens regarding recent criminal activity and explains the background that has led us to the current state of crime in the City of Natchitoches
In 2018 several laws for reform such as the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Act were created to reduce the number incarcerated inmates. Sentencing guidelines for many non-violent offenses were reduced and changes were made to the Habitual Offender Law. These changes had a direct effect on numerous communities due to the fact that several inmates were released from prison with credit for time served. The intention of this law was to release non-violent offenders but several offenders who were serving sentences for other crimes such as distribution and possession of CDS, burglaries, and thefts also had histories of violence.
There have been several individuals who were convicted on drug charges that were released even though they had criminal histories involving violence. Unfortunately, another result of this law resulted in the reduction of sentencing of suspects that plead to non-violent offenses such as drug offenses. Crimes that used to carry sentences of up to five years in prison have been reduced to 15 days in jail. This unleashed a rash of criminals into communities that had once been secured. I will share with you stats showing how this resulted in a trending up of certain crimes.