Louisiana survey shows growing support for criminal justice reforms

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Donaldsonville Courthouse

Researchers in the Public Policy Research Lab at LSU's Manship School of Mass Communication found support among people in Louisiana is growing for criminal justice reforms. Still, few believe the system is fair or effective at keeping communities safe.

These details come from the fifth of six reports from the 2019 Louisiana Survey, which shows growth for criminal justice reforms is especially strong among Republicans and independents.

The Louisiana Survey, conducted by PPRL interviewers, polled 917 Louisianans age 18 or older across the state to find out how people from all areas of the state view Louisiana government and its policies. The survey was conducted from Feb. 15 to March 7, and the total sample has a margin of error +/- 4.6 percentage points.

Findings from the fifth of six reports show these key opinions on criminal justice:

--The percentage of Louisiana residents who approve of the state’s criminal justice reforms is up from 61 percent in 2018 to 70 percent today.

--This growth is especially strong among Republicans (+14 percentage points) and independents (+12 percentage points).

--Despite the popularity of criminal justice reform, few Louisiana residents believe the system is fair or believe it is effective at keeping communities safe.

--Only about one-third (32 percent) agree with the statement that the current criminal justice system in Louisiana is fair.

--Most state residents (54 percent) disagree with this statement.

--Similarly, 32 percent agree that Louisiana's current criminal justice system is effective at keeping communities safe, and 55 percent disagree.

The Louisiana Survey has been conducted annually for the last 18 years (and twice in 2006), establishing rich longitudinal measures of public opinion in Louisiana. The mission of the Louisiana Survey is to establish benchmarks as well as to capture change in residents’ assessments of state government services.

The survey is further dedicated to tracking public opinion on the contemporary policy issues that face the state. Each iteration of the Louisiana Survey contains core items designed to serve as barometers of public sentiment, including assessments of whether the state is heading in the right direction or wrong direction, perceptions about the most important problems facing the state, as well as evaluations of public revenue sources and spending priorities.

The survey is a project of the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs, an integral part of the Manship School of Mass Communication. The Reilly Center's mission is to generate thoughtful programs, dialogue and research about mass communication and its many faceted relationships with social, economic and political issues.

Read the full fifth report from the Louisiana Survey here: http://pprllsu.com/projects/. The sixth of six reports from the Louisiana Survey is slated for release on Thursday, April 18.

For more information, contact smalin@lsu.edu.

Contributed by LSU University Relations