The Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement is the state agency primarily charged with criminal justice policy planning. The Policy Planning Section is concerned with the identification and analysis of crime and criminal justice-related problems, and the development of a range of alternative solutions for consideration by criminal justice and legislative policymakers. Generally, policy planning involves the application of scientific research and analytical methods, the results of which are used in policymaking at the state and local levels. This function is carried out in three general ways:
- Policy planning is conducted in response to a specific question raised by a legislative committee, a criminal justice agency head, the Governor’s Office or other policymakers. This often takes the form of a Policy Impact Statement, where the Policy Planning Section is called upon to determine the effect and cost of a proposed policy under consideration.
- Policy planning is conducted in support of a legislative committee or special task force convened to study a broad policy area. An example of this type of effort is the support rendered to the Senate’s Interagency Council For The Prevention Of Sex Offenses.
- The Policy Planning Section monitors key indicators in the state criminal justice system in an effort to identify emerging issues before they become problems in order to alert policymakers before a crisis occurs. This effort is also useful in identifying ways in which the criminal justice system might be improved.
The role of the Policy Planning Section is not to make policy, but to provide policymakers with objective, research-based information that can be used both in policy consideration and, by identifying costs and possible sources of success or failure, policy implementation.
Research and Statistics
The Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement is the agency charged with the primary responsibility for conducting research on crime and the criminal justice system in Louisiana. The Research and Statistics Unit functions as the empirical research arm of the Policy Planning Section. It is charged with the development and maintenance of numerous databases which serve as the foundation for much of the Section’s policy impact statements. Among the various databases available for research and analysis by the section are:
- State Prison Populations
- Characteristics of State Inmates
- Management and Administrative Statistics
- Homicide Profile
Additionally, the Research and Statistics Unit provides the empirical analysis for Policy Impact Statements which are utilized on a wide range of criminal justice issues. Finally, the Unit is called upon to conduct a wide variety of empirical research on special topics for the Governor’s Office, the Legislature, and other criminal justice agencies, as well as for federal agencies and national planning groups.
Some of the recent research includes:
- Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) for State Prisoners
- Stress Reduction Program Analysis for Law Enforcement Officers and Their Families
- Report on the Development of the Louisiana Children’s Advocacy Clearinghouse
- The Potential of Using LaNet and Internet Resources to Find Missing Children (Louisiana Children’s Network)
- Annual Report on Crime in Louisiana
- Homicide in Louisiana’s Fourteen Largest Jurisdictions
- Juvenile Crime Analysis Report
- Annual Felony Sentencing Review
Criminal Justice Information Clearinghouse
The Louisiana Criminal Justice Information Clearinghouse provides a central location from which federal, state, and local governmental agencies, the private sector, and the general public may obtain the most current information on crime and criminal justice in Louisiana and the nation. Policymakers, criminal justice agencies, citizen groups, and individuals throughout the state continue to depend on the services provided by the Clearinghouse to assist with important policy decisions.
The Clearinghouse contains an information library and its resources are available to any individual or group requesting assistance. Clearinghouse staff answer approximately 20 requests for information per month from outside sources, and approximately 5-10 requests per month for information from other divisions within the LCLE itself.
Micro data sets developed and continuously updated by Clearinghouse staff serve to provide rapid access to summary information for resource users. Designed to provide current data for the most frequently asked questions, the micro data sets cover a wide range of topics. Some recently developed data sets include:
- Parole Violation Docket: includes specific violations and revocation decisions of the Parole Board.
- Parole Hearing Docket: includes data on release hearings and release decision making.
- Probation & Parole: includes statistics on caseloads, supervision levels, investigations, and agent/offender ratios.
- Homicides in Louisiana: contain information received on each homicide in the state including offender and victim information, age, race and sex information, the relationship of victim to offender, weapon use, and offense circumstances.
In addition to serving as a clearinghouse for statistical and programmatic information, the Clearinghouse also provides ready access to information on federal funding sources available to law enforcement and criminal justice agencies in Louisiana. Recently, the focus in this area has been on funding programs created under the Federal Crime Bill, including a study on the “Effectiveness of Community Policing in Public Housing Developments,” as well as discretionary funding announcements from the National Institute of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
For More Information: call 225.342.1500