what we do
Though the parole rate in Louisiana hovers around 45 percent for people convicted of crimes of violence, Parole Project clients are paroled in 73 percent of cases. The parole board has come to trust that even those individuals with intensive and long-term needs will succeed with the support of Parole Project. Our client advocacy helps spur broader policy reforms.
In 2019, Parole Project met with Governor John Bel Edwards’s office pledging to house and support every person who received a commutation of sentence from the Governor. The following year, Governor Edwards signed more commutations than he had during his entire first term, calling regularly on Parole Project for assistance, as in the case of Ms. Rachel Rose.
district attorney-led sentence reviews
Beginning in 2021, the newly-elected District Attorney in New Orleans established a Civil Rights Division to review unjust convictions and excessive sentences out of Orleans Parish. Parole Project has offered to provide reentry support to those individuals who have served more than twenty years and are given a reduced sentence, including people convicted by non-unanimous juries, a vestige of Jim Crow laws dating back more than a century.
Each legislative session, we work with local partners to advance legislative reforms that will give people serving extreme sentences in Louisiana a second chance. In 2020, Parole Project successfully advocated for reforms that made hundreds of people sentenced as children in Louisiana parole-eligible for the first time (Act 99), and that greatly reduce the financial and practical burdens of community supervision for people on lifetime parole (Act 203).
In 2021, Parole Project successfully advocated for the Louisiana Parole Board to reduce the number of Yes votes needed to parole someone convicted of a crime of violence (in most cases) from three-out-of-three to two-out-of-three. On average, 55 percent of people convicted of crimes of violence are denied parole by the board–one quarter of them by a single vote. We believe this rule change will lead to the release of an additional 10 percent of parole applicants per year.
In addition to our advocacy efforts, Parole Project operates a residential reentry program that provides safe housing to clients while they work to rebuild their lives and reintegrate into the community. We own and operate seven transitional houses and four post-transition condos, and provide our clients with comprehensive, holistic reintegration programming.