Vera Institute of Justice Launches Data Hub on Incarceration in Louisiana

"Louisiana Locked Up: A Problem in Every Parish” maps arrests, pretrial detention, incarceration, and local spending on the criminal legal system across all 64 parishes in Louisiana, providing key information to policymakers, advocates, and the public.


April 3, 2023

Contact: Trip Eggert,, (212) 376-3157 | ext. 1033

(New Orleans, LA) – The Vera Institute of Justice has launched a new data hub providing comprehensive information on incarceration and detention spending in Louisiana to policymakers, advocates, researchers, and the wider public. Louisiana Locked Up: A Problem in Every Parish seeks to support evidence-based policymaking and advocacy through transparent, accessible data at the state and parish level. The data hub maps and analyzes arrests, pretrial detention, incarceration, and local spending on the criminal legal system on a single platform for the first time, revealing a detailed and damning picture of mass incarceration.

"Incarceration isn't making us safer," said Will Snowden, director of Vera Louisiana. “What this data reveals is that we are what we invest in—Louisiana is the incarceration capital. Now is the time to build safe, thriving communities by investing in our people instead of locking them up."

Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate and second highest imprisonment rate in the United States. For people held before trial in local jails, the detention rate is twice the national average. Between transitional work programs, “per diems” to hold people with state prison sentences in parish jails, and immigrant detention, the astronomical rate at which Louisianans are held in local jails means a significant financial incentive for sheriffs to fill their facilities. For Louisianans, it means living in a state with 230 jails and prisons, but just 42 universities and colleges. These numbers matter. Parishes with the most outsized jails often have the highest pretrial detention and prison incarceration rates. Across the state, more facilities mean more incarceration, not safer communities.

“Transparent data is essential to understanding and addressing the crisis of mass incarceration in Louisiana,” said Insha Rahman, Vera’s vice president of advocacy and partnerships. “With that evidence in hand, lawmakers, organizers, and everyday Louisianans can change the criminal legal system for the better, across the state and in their own backyards.”

Access to accurate, comprehensive data is fundamental to developing evidence-based policies that improve outcomes for all Louisianans. Vera Louisiana works with government leaders and the community to end mass incarceration, center racial justice, and transform the criminal legal system. That collaboration includes initiatives to reduce unnecessary arrest and pretrial detention, end unjust bail practices, promote effective alternatives to incarceration, and improve the delivery of justice for everyone in Louisiana by centering human dignity and racial equity.


About the Vera Institute of Justice: The Vera Institute of Justice is powered by hundreds of advocates, researchers, and policy experts working to transform the criminal legal and immigration systems until they’re fair for all. Founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, Vera is now a national organization that partners with impacted communities and government leaders for change. We develop just, antiracist solutions so that money doesn’t determine freedom; fewer people are in jails, prisons, and immigration detention; and everyone is treated with dignity. Vera’s headquarters is in Brooklyn, New York, with offices in Washington, DC, New Orleans, and Los Angeles. For more information, visit

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