Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $900,000)
In 2020, the United States Supreme Court made a landmark decision in the case of Ramos v. Louisiana, holding non-unanimous jury schemes unconstitutional because they are a racially discriminatory practice. Although the decision in Ramos does not apply on federal collateral review, Louisiana Courts are free to implement Ramos under state law. More than 1,500 people are still serving sentences of life without parole based on non-unanimous jury convictions – 80% of whom are people of color. There are approximately 300 convictions from Orleans Parish where individuals are incarcerated based on non-unanimous verdicts.
This year, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office launched the “Undoing Jim Crow Jury Civil Rights Initiative” to reevaluate non-unanimous jury convictions from Orleans Parish. Orleans Parish Criminal District Court (CDC) Judges Nandi Campbell and Angel Harris created the “Rise After Release'' program (RAR) to prepare individuals transitioning back into their New Orleans communities. Specifically, those included in the District Attorney’s initiative who are forty-five years old or older and have served twenty years or more in Angola Prison or Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women (LCIW) for crimes of violence.
As part of RAR’s plan, Delgado Community College will implement job training and certification programs in Angola and LCIW that are attainable and aligned with labor demands in the community. The Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development will identify and direct the supply of workers in New Orleans with the needs of businesses. A CDC-based Program Director will oversee the implementation of RAR and supervise two court-based Case Managers who will link participants with comprehensive, wrap-around support services pre- and post-release. Case Managers will work with a network of Community Navigators - a team of formerly justice-involved individuals and social workers - to engage participants with services and resources to ensure their success in reentry.
Driven by a commitment to data-focused decision making, best practices, and performance documentation, extensive information gathering and analysis will be essential to minimizing recidivism, understanding RAR’s competencies and capabilities, and evolving
the CDC’s infrastructure toward a problem-solving modality.
This program will serve approximately 100-140 justice-involved individuals over the three-year funding cycle. Program deliverables include the following:
100% will receive case management
100% will receive community navigation services
100% will be provided with access job training and certification programs
100% will receive wrap-around supportive services from community partners
85% will successfully complete the program
85% will secure employment
Less than 5% will recidivate