Home Editorials Louisiana regresses into Medieval era with barbaric, ineffective law

Louisiana regresses into Medieval era with barbaric, ineffective law

by PRIDE Newsdesk
NUL President/CEP Marc Morial

by Marc H. Morial

<TriceEdneyWire.com> — “This new law is solely vengeance and lacks any evidence of effectiveness and is aimed at a despised and powerless population that already is subject to dozens of draconian post-conviction collateral consequences. There is virtually no evidence that increasing punishments will have any impact on sexual recidivism” – St. Francis College sociology professor Emily Horowitz.

Not to be outdone by other southern states trying to regress to the Jim Crow era, my home state of Louisiana is trying to regress to the Medieval era.

A barbaric proposal to allow judges to sentence certain convicted sex offenders to surgical castration passed the legislature and awaits Gov. Landry’s signature. Louisiana would become the first state with such a law, joining the ranks of nations like Pakistan and Nigeria.

The bill has been compared to the Tuskegee Study and Josef Mengele’s experiments at Auschwitz II-Birkenau.

Child sexual abuse is a heinous crime with devastating consequences. It is also the crime with the highest rate of perjury or false accusations. In recent years, Orleans Parish in Louisiana has been called the wrongful conviction capital of the United States, with 10 times the number of exonerations per capita than the national average. And Black people are eight times more likely to be wrongly convicted than a White person for a crime involving sexual violence.

Even the sponsor of the bill acknowledged Louisiana’s appallingly high rate of wrongful convictions.

The proposal raises the question of whether Catholic priests in the Archdiocese of New Orleans (currently the target of an active child sex-trafficking investigation) would be subject to the draconian punishment.

While Louisiana lawmakers clearly are desperate to portray themselves as tough on crime, their brutal proposal is unlikely to prevent a single assault. Researchers have found no cause-and-effect relationship between testosterone levels and sexual offending.  On the other hand, psychological treatment has been shown to reduce recidivism among sex offenders.

It would be naïve to assume that preventing crime is the chief motivation behind this bill, however. Earlier this year, even as violent crime rates were falling, Louisiana rolled back criminal justice reforms that had saved the state more than $150 million.

Severe sentences do not deter crime, retribution often does not help survivors of crime heal, and the U.S. sentencing system overestimates who is a current danger to the community and when incarceration is needed for public safety, as a Vera Institute of Justice report makes clear.

Just as State Sen. Royce Duplessis noted when Louisiana was in the process of rolling back its effective criminal justice reforms, the state continues to prioritize political grandstanding over effective public safety.

“We could have actually done a lot of things to prevent crime on the front-end, instead of continuing to advance policies that do great for campaigns, but do very little to actually prevent crime,” he said.

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