Natchitoches Parish DA meets with LA Congressional Delegation in Washington

District Attorney Billy Joe Harrington met with Louisiana members of Congress and congressional leaders recently during a trip to Washington, D.C. The purpose of the trip was to discuss 2023 legislative priorities at a meeting of the National District Attorneys Association.

The district attorneys discussed with members of Congress their legislative proposals which included prioritizing victims in reform and improving public safety.

“Our purpose of this meeting was to impress upon the leaders of Congress that when criminal justice reform legislation is considered and debated, victims’ rights are priority and their voices are heard,” said District Attorney Harrington.

The district attorneys advocated for victims’ rights by supporting legislation to increase victim notification requirements and to create new funding for collaborative Family Justice Centers to support a whole system approach to assisting victims of crime.

Juvenile crime is a growing concern throughout Louisiana. District attorneys are working diligently to address juvenile justice, including exploring all avenues for additional funding to adjudicate, incarcerate, and rehabilitate juvenile offenders.

Regarding the continued focus on improving public safety, Harrington said the group supports new legislation to permanently classify fentanyl as a scheduled dangerous substance so all law enforcement entities can hold distributors, manufacturers, and traffickers accountable. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. It is one of the most prevalent contributor to fatal and nonfatal overdoses in the Louisiana.

“Illicitly manufactured fentanyl is a deadly and horrible substance that flows into the illegal drug markets in our country and eventually arrives in hometown communities with its deadly consequences. We are finding pills that are illicitly sold on the streets to contain fentanyl. We must use every resource available to educate our young people about the deadly dangers of taking any drug not prescribed by their doctor.

“Along with our law enforcement partners in Natchitoches Parish, I will continue to fight this scourge that is impacting all communities in our country,” said Harrington.

Harrington currently serves as 1st vice president of the Louisiana District Attorneys Association.