Policy Reform Project

The Policy Reform Project pursues justice at the policy level. Louisiana’s high rate of incarceration is directly tied to poverty and inequality. Only with deliberate, long-term, strategic efforts can we as a community overcome these high imprisonment rates and begin to create a healthier Louisiana.

The Prison System in Louisiana

Louisiana locks up more citizens per capita than any other state. In the 1990s, the privatization of the prison system resulted in incentives to lock up more people for longer periods of time. The same private interests influence state criminal justice policies.

How We Affect Policy

Litigation, community organizing, and policy reform go hand in hand. PJI works closely with grassroots community efforts and policy reform organizations around Louisiana to identify common priorities, develop informed ideas about legislation, and bring these ideas to state lawmakers. Our staff attends hearings, offers testimony, and develops research to drive policy changes. We strongly defend against regressive proposals, which often increase over-incarceration and fail to improve public safety.


The Promise of Justice Initiative strives to achieve non-violent and effective alternatives to Louisiana’s death penalty. Together we work to educate citizens about:

  • Racial and religious discrimination in jury selection
  • Racial and geographic discrimination in first-degree murder charging decisions
  • The overwhelmingly high cost of pursuing capital convictions

PJI also seeks abolition by joining with community and grassroots organizations to advocate for improved protection of public safety, smarter and more effective uses of resources, and restorative justice for families and communities affected by murder. Our work is supported through donations from lawyers, clergy, individuals and foundations opposed to capital punishment.