DA's Office praises new 72-hour arraignment program for saving the City Parish $215K
EAST BATON ROUGE – After implementing the new 72-hour arraignment program, the District Attorney’s Office says the first eight weeks of the plan have been successful.
The new plan was created to shorten the amount of time a suspect is behind bars immediately after their arrest.
The plan requires that arraignments occur within the first 72 hours of an individual’s arrest, as opposed to within the first three months.
The District Attorney’s Office reports that during the first eight weeks of the program, out of the 1,169 prisoners scheduled for arraignment, only 32 were not arraigned within a timely fashion.
The District Attorney’s Office also reports that for the first time in East Baton Rouge Parish history, those bonding out of prison received notice for a specific arraignment date within 3 days and this led to their voluntarily appearing at an impressive rate of 95.7%.
This is a significant improvement to prior arraignment appearance rates, which were only 50%.
The DA’s report goes on to say, the new system was expected to act as an economic boost for the criminal justice system in that it would reduce City-Parish expenses.
According to the DA’s findings, this proved to be the case during the first eight weeks of the program. Officials say the out-of-prison population was reduced by 154 prisoners, which means the City-Parish saved approximately $215,000.
This savings is expected to continue throughout the year, which will likely result in an annual savings of $1.4 million.
While heralding the new system's success, the DA’s Office simultaneously acknowledges that its implementation hasn’t been a smooth ride.
District Attorney Hillar Moore issued a statement regarding the new system, saying, “There has been nothing easy about implementing a new system to replace one that has been at work for generations. I have been very impressed by the willingness of the entire court system: prosecutors, defenders, judges, clerks, deputies and officers, to adapt to a new way of working.”
Despite the glitches in adapting to the new system, Moore remains hopeful about the new program and says continued adjustments to its execution will only help to improve it.
In fact, this week East Baton Rouge Parish judges are scheduled to meet and discuss how they can improve the implementation of the new arraignment program.
Click here to read the DA's full report concerning the first eight weeks of the new system.