''Resilience and Opportunity'' in New Orleans

Peggy McGarry Former Director, Center on Sentencing and Corrections
Nov 07, 2011

Jon Wool, director of our New Orleans Office, is coauthor of a chapter in a new book,Resilience and Opportunity: Lessons from the U.S. Gulf Coast After Katrina and Rita(Brookings Institution Press). Jon wrote the chapter “Criminal Justice Reforms” with Luceia LeDoux, vice president of Baptist Community Ministries, and Nadiene Van Dyke, formerly of the New Orleans Police and Justice Foundation.

As part of the Center on Sentencing and Corrections, Jon and our other colleagues in New Orleans are working on important initiatives to make the city’s criminal justice system more effective and fairer. Over the past several years, they have worked with the city's Criminal Justice Leadership Alliance—a group composed of the leaders of the major system agencies—to reduce the time from arrest to arraignment, to increase the use of summons in lieu of arrest, and to expand the categories of offenses eligible for hearing in lower courts (where cases can be heard and disposed more efficiently and with lower-level penalties).

Currently, their efforts are focused on developing a comprehensive pretrial system and, in collaboration with the New Orleans Police Department, devising a detox option instead of jail for people who are charged only with public intoxication. These evidence-based efforts have great potential to result in a fairer system, save taxpayers money, and improve public safety.