Caddo sheriff's blasting criticism of new prison law goes viral - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Caddo sheriff's blasting criticism of new prison law goes viral

Source: Shaun King via Twitter Source: Shaun King via Twitter

Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator's comments blasting a new law allowing the release of inmates, some of them convicted felons, went viral after civil rights activist Shaun King posted a 38-second clip of the nearly 22 minute news conference earlier this week.

While the sheriff never mentions race, he did raise concerns about letting what he referred to as "good inmates" out early. 

KSLA News 12 reached out to the sheriff for a response. 

He released this statement:

"My many years of public service prove beyond any doubt that I view all persons equally. To say or imply any differently is untruthful. Someone who posts lies to suit their own personal agenda has that right. Likewise, rational persons have a responsibility to form their opinion based on fact and not the rantings and lies of an uninformed blogger." 

Thursday afternoon, we spoke with a man who is now committing his life to inmate reform after he himself spent 26 years in Louisiana's prison system. 

"They're even trying to release the good ones, the ones that wash the dishes and clean the kitchen and pick up trash and wash the cars," requoted Curtis Davis.

"Why wouldn't we want that type of person back in society?" he asked.

Davis is a convicted felon who served 26 years for a crime he maintains he didn't do.

But instead of holding onto the past, Davis has chosen to move forward. 

"I've been gainfully employed since the second day I was released. I'm currently in my third semester at SUSLA studying criminal justice. I'm the executive director of a nonprofit organization called VOTE Shreveport, where we help ex-convicts reacclimate into society."

Davis says he is living proof that reform can happen inside prison walls. 

"Long suffering has a way of softening your spirit and your soul," he explained.

"A lot of times, you want these guys to come back so they can interact inside the community and change the community for the better. Because who else can do it besides the one who messed it up in the first place."

Davis favors the new law that gives nonviolent offenders an earlier release. 

"Ten percent of this whole population is going to get another chance to live their life, which they were going to get anyway," he said.

"No violent offenders, no lifers, no rapists. There's no legislation that exists right now or in the past 30 years that benefits sexual predators; and you know that and I know that."

Davis hopes the money projected to be saved by the new law will be used to establish or improve prison reform in parishes throughout the state. 

"Life skills, money management, goal setting, decision making. These things should be inside of the Caddo Parish jail. How to tie a tie, how to conduct yourself during an interview; these are basic things. But if a person is armed with knowledge, I guarantee you they will do better every time."

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