In the last legislative session, Governor John Bel Edwards was successful in passing a package of laws that completely overhauled the state’s criminal justice system. The main reason for the legislative package was to reduce the state’s incarceration rate, which is the highest in the world.
As a result, starting on November 1, 1,900 “non-violent offenders,” became eligible for release from prison after serving at least 35% of their sentence. Before the release, Sheriffs and District Attorneys across the state expressed concern that violent criminals would be unleashed upon the innocent citizens of Louisiana. Not surprisingly, days after the state started releasing these “non-violent offenders,” an armed robbery was committed in Kenner by Tyrone “Smokey” White, one of the criminals set free.
White used a BB gun to rob a roofer working at a home in the 600 block of 27th Street. After another roofer claimed he had no money, White scampered away from the scene of the crime. Before the armed robbery, White had been trying to steal cars in the neighborhood by pulling on door handles to see which ones were unlocked.
Fortunately, White was soon apprehended by the Kenner Police and booked with attempted armed robbery and armed robbery. Unfortunately, his case is indicative of what could be in store for the people of Louisiana in the days and weeks ahead. According to Kenner Police Chief Michael Glaser, “You can’t imagine the amount the amount of frustration we have here in law enforcement. We knew it was coming.”
White has an amazingly lengthy criminal record. Even though he is only 24 years old, he has been arrested over 50 times for burglary. He has also been charged with a variety of crimes ranging from illegal possession of a stolen handgun to resisting a police officer.
At the age of 18, White pleaded guilty to multiple counts of simple burglary and was placed on probation; however, he was soon thereafter arrested on more burglary charges. In October of 2012, White was sentenced to six years in prison for four counts of simple burglary.
Incredibly, White was soon out of prison committing more burglary. He was eventually arrested and sentenced again. In 2014, he was convicted on four counts of simple burglary and was sentenced to 12 years in prison; however, a mere three years later he was released. As noted by Chief Glaser, “He’s got a 40 page criminal history.”
White is the type of criminal who should have never been released. To maintain basic public safety, prisoners with a “40-page criminal history” need to remain behind bars. How many other “non-violent offenders” sprung from prison on November 1 will be committing crimes in the days ahead?
Supposedly, Louisiana Department of Corrections officials were reviewing each case to make sure that dangerous criminals would not be released. Obviously, in the case of White, a huge mistake was made. Thankfully, no one was killed this time, but an innocent citizen might not be so fortunate the next time.