The Department of Public Safety and Corrections consists of three main divisions:
Corrections Services, which oversees the custody and care of adult offenders and includes individuals under Probation and Parole supervision; Public Safety Services, which encompasses Louisiana State Police, the Office of Motor Vehicles, the State Fire Marshal’s Office and Highway Safety Commission; and the Office of Juvenile Justice, which oversees the juvenile justice system in Louisiana.
The Secretary, who is appointed by the Governor, serves as the Department’s chief executive officer. The Corrections Services Deputy Secretary, Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary and Chief of Operations all report directly to the Secretary.
Office of the Secretary
The Secretary is responsible for the functioning and control of all programs within the Department. He formulates rules and regulations and determines policy regarding management, personnel, and total operations. He leads and supports central office and field unit staffs, which are charged with carrying out the work of the agency.
As part of the Secretary’s Office, the Deputy Secretary is responsible for special duties and functions as assigned by the Secretary. Primary among them are the coordination and management of the Department’s Critical Incident Stress Management response, support and facilitation of the Risk Review Panel process and oversight of the Legal Services division.
Other executive staff carry out long and short-term projects. Under the direction of the General Counsel, the Legal Office provides a variety of services in representing the legal interests of the Department. The attorneys working within the Legal Office advise the Secretary, executive staff, and other employees of their legal rights and responsibilities in the development and implementation of agency policy and procedure. The Legal Office represents the Department’s interests in administrative appeals relating to offender and employee discipline in addition to overseeing the Department’s contracting needs. The Legal Office works closely with the Attorney General’s Office in representing the Department before state and federal courts in Louisiana.
The Crime Victims Service Bureau coordinates the Department’s response to crime victims, including the process of registration and notification in addition to supporting restorative justice initiatives.
Office of Offender Reentry
Under the authority of the Assistant Secretary, the Office of Offender Reentry is responsible for the development and management of reentry programming. The program uses innovative approaches such as resource building, sound policy and collaborative efforts among agencies to support an offender’s successful reintegration into society so that he/she can be productive citizens upon release from prison.
Office of the Undersecretary/Chief of Staff
Under the authority of the Undersecretary, the Office of Management and Finance provides management support to all units in activities involving fiscal management, grant administration, information services, food services, maintenance and construction, performance audit, procurement and contractual review, human resources, and the Prison Enterprises Division. The Undersecretary serves as Chief of Staff for Headquarters operations and, as such, coordinates policies and addresses organizational issues that impact the Department.
Office of Adult Services
Under the direction of the Chief of Operations, the Office of Adult Services (OAS) provides administrative oversight of and support for the operational programs of the adult institutions and provides technical assistance to local jail facilities. The Chief of Operations leads and directs the Department’s operational audit teams, which conduct audits of all adult institutions, non-secure contract facilities, and community work release centers and assist all units with matters relative to the maintenance of American Correctional Association (ACA) accreditation. OAS staff support the Administrative Remedy Procedure and disciplinary appeal processes, screen and recommend offenders for participation in work release, and maintain central office ACA accreditation. There are thirteen adult institutions under the broad authority of Chief of Operations, including two operated under contractual agreements with private management corporations (Allen Correctional Center and Winn Correctional Center).
Probation and Parole
Under the direction of the Deputy Secretary, the division of Probation and Parole is comprised of twenty-one district offices throughout the state and a Headquarters office in Baton Rouge. P&P functions as a community services division. Officers supervise adult offenders who are released to the community on probation, parole, diminution of sentence or medical furlough. They also supervise offenders in ten community rehabilitation centers (CRC’s) and those in the intensive parole cases from the institutional IMPACT (Intensive Motivational Program of Alternative Correctional Treatment). Officers in the division provide investigative services to decision-makers in the criminal justice system, including judges, the Pardon and Parole Boards and the Governor’s Office. They oversee collection of various criminal justice fees, supervision fees and victim restitution.
The Probation and Parole division is actively involved in the Department’s efforts to reduce recidivism through the Office of Offender Reentry.
Prison Enterprises operates a diversified group of industry and agriculture operations located at nine different correctional facilities throughout Louisiana. These operations provide work opportunities to approximately 1000 – 1200 offenders in over 30 different industry and agriculture programs.
Today, there are approximately 19,000 offenders incarcerated in state correctional facilities. The mission of Prison Enterprises is to lower the costs of incarceration by providing productive job opportunities to offenders that instill occupational and skills training, while producing quality products and services for sale to state and local governments, non-profit organizations, political subdivisions and others. Operation of Prison Enterprises’ programs serves to further the Department of Corrections Reentry Initiative by enabling offenders to increase the potential for successful rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
Louisiana Board of Pardons and Parole
Act 714 of the 2012 Legislative Session merged the duties, functions and powers of the Board of Pardons with that of the Board of Parole, creating a Committee on Parole. The legislation also expanded the membership of the Board of Pardons from five members to seven, with the additional two members serving at-large only on the Committee on Parole.
All members of the Board are appointed by the Governor and are subject to confirmation by the Louisiana Senate. There are five members of the Board of Pardons. The Committee on Parole, a committee within the Board of Pardons, is composed of the five members of the Board of Pardons and two at-large members appointed by the Governor.