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.
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.
Deputy Secretary's Office
As part of the Secretary’s Office, the Deputy Secretary provides administrative oversight to the Division of Probation and Parole. The Deputy Secretary is also responsible for oversight and support to the Department’s Legal Services Section, Crime Victims Services Bureau, Internal Audit Section, Sex Offender Assessment Panel (SOAP) and Critical Incident Stress Management Program. The Deputy Secretary serves as the Department’s Custodian of Records and as the central point for all public records requests, in addition to any other duties and functions assigned by the Secretary.
The Crime Victims Services Bureau (CVSB) coordinates the registration and of notification to victims of changes in an offender’s status, training and education to staff and the community on the Department’s victims services in addition to supporting restorative justice initiatives. The CVSB is the central point for victim and victim related issues in the Department and also manages the Victim-Offender Dialogue (VOD) program.
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 the Assistant Secretary
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 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 nine 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 functions as a community services division and is comprised of twenty district offices located throughout the state and a Headquarters office in Baton Rouge. Probation and Parole Officers are POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) certified who supervise adult offenders who are released to the community on probation, parole, diminution of sentence, home incarceration, medical furlough, or supervised released. Officers also supervise offenders who relocate to Louisiana from other states. Officers ensure offenders abide by the conditions of supervision, identify problems and solutions, make appropriate referrals, provide general counseling, and perform arrests as needed to protect public safety. Officers perform their duties by visiting offenders primarily in their homes, at work, other places in the community, and in the office. The Division is actively involved in the Department’s efforts to reduce recidivism through a variety of programs such as administrative sanctions and Day Reporting Centers.
Officers in the Division also provide investigative services to decision makers in the criminal justice system, including Judges, the Pardon Board and Committee on Parole, and the Governor’s office. They also oversee the collection of victim restitution, supervision fees, and a variety of criminal justice fees.
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 18,500 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, which became effective August 1, 2012, merged the duties, functions, and powers of the Board of Pardons with that of the Board of Parole, creating a Committee on Parole. Act 714 also expanded the membership of the Board of Pardons from five members to seven, with the additional 2 members serving at-large only on the Committee on Parole and who do not serve as a member of the Board of Pardons.
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. The at-large members serve only as members of the Committee on Parole and do not serve as members of the Board of Pardons.
In addition to the appointed members, there is an ex-officio member of the Board. The warden, or in his absence the deputy warden, of the correctional facility in which the offender is incarcerated serves as the ex-officio member. The ex-officio member is not a voting member nor is he counted for the purposes of the members necessary to take Board action.
The Board considers applications for pardon, sentence commutations, and restoration of rights and privileges of citizenship. All of the Board’s recommendations for clemency are forwarded to the Governor for final action. There is no time limit within which the Governor must take action on any recommendation for favorable consideration by the Board of Pardons.
The Committee on Parole is the sole authority for granting parole in Louisiana. The Committee on Parole grants or denies parole to eligible offenders and sets supervision conditions for offenders not only released by action of the Committee but also those released by diminution of sentence. The Committee also holds hearings for offenders facing revocation for violating the conditions of their supervision.