Sen. Katrina Jackson introduces criminal justice reform legislation

After being planted, a cannabis plant will be harvested in approximately 90 days in a...
After being planted, a cannabis plant will be harvested in approximately 90 days in a controlled environment(WLUC)
Published: Mar. 25, 2022 at 7:46 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - State Senator Katrina Jackson is focusing on criminal justice reform this legislative session.

Jackson, who represents parts of Ouachita and Morehouse Parishes, has authored bills dealing with repealing the death penalty, civil forfeiture law, and sentences for those in possession of small amounts of marijuana.

One bill is in response to a 2021 bill that would make possession of up to 14 grams of marijuana punishable by a $100 fine.

“My bill would allow you to file a reconsideration of sentencing if the possession of marijuana or possession with intent to distribute marijuana was a deciding factor in how much time you receive,” Senator Jackson told KNOE.

Jackson believes people should no longer be jailed for a crime now punishable by a citation.

“I don’t have the stats on whether anyone is left incarcerated that only had a possession of marijuana charge, but if they are, it would apply then yes,” explained Jackson.

Another priority for Jackson is reforming Louisiana’s civil forfeiture law. Currently, a person has one month to appeal if law enforcement seizes property they feel is being used while committing a crime.

“Thirty days to respond to the forfeiture of your property, but that 30 days actually commences when the DA takes it to the post office, instead of the day you receive it,” said Jackson.

In Louisiana, law enforcement can seize cash, vehicles, and any other property even if that person is never convicted of a crime. Jackson supports another bill that would change that.

“That says you have to be convicted of a crime before civil forfeiture can take place,” explained Jackson. “My bill doesn’t change that, but I am supporting that bill as well.”

Jackson has also introduced a bill to eliminate the death penalty in Louisiana.

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