Our state is high in integrity

It’s good news that Louisiana now ranks sixth among states in integrity according to Chicago watchdog group the Better Government Association. The state rated high for laws governing freedom of information, open meetings and conflicts of interest.

Our lowest mark was for whistleblower protection.In overall integrity, we finished behind only Rhode Island, New Jersey, Illinois, Nebraska and California. We can probably give Gov. Bobby Jindal credit for much of that rise. Before he took office, the state ranked 46th.

“Years ago, Louisiana was known best for its political corruption,” he said last week in reference to the rating. “Now, we’re known for one of the strongest business climates in the south and in the nation. That’s because when we took office, we immediately got to work on reforming our state’s image by passing some of the nation’s strongest ethics laws. The results speak for themselves.”

Bravo for Jindal. Though he has been criticized for traveling to other states during his years as governor in search of the presidency  of this nation, we can’t complain too much about how he has served our state. Let’s keep our integrity high.

Richmond right on jail timeSt. Charles Parish’s congressman in Washington, Cedric Richmond, is right in trying to reduce jail time in federal prisons for low-level drug users. According to staff writer Bruce Alpert in The Times Picayune, Richmond said in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder “It is high time that we focus on keeping people out of jail by investing in economic and human capital development instead of throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at the symptoms of the diseases of underinvestment and societal neglect. If we invested half of what we spend on our criminal justice system in schools and job training, the yield would be powerful and sustainable.”

It would be much cheaper and far more effective in seeking to educate and train our criminals to earn a legal living than to pitch them in jail, which doesn’t benefit them at all and costs us more money. It would also be beneficial to reward those who do end up in prison by expanding “good time provisions” in which they can get extra time off their sentences, which would save us more money.

We have to change our way of handling criminals after they are arrested, especially if they are not a danger to society, by trying to train them in the right way of living. By so doing, we will improve their lives – and ours.


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