NEW ORLEANS — Five days after being released under Louisiana’s new criminal justice legislation, a 24-year-old man is back in jail on charges arising from an armed robbery, police in suburban New Orleans said Thursday.
Tyrone “Smokey” White, of Kenner, was freed Nov. 2, according to a statement from the Kenner Police Department.
Authorities said he was arrested following a robbery Tuesday at a residence where two men were doing roofing work.
Interviews with people in the neighborhood led investigators to White, the police department said in a news release. Authorities arrested him Thursday and said they recovered a handgun at his home.
White was jailed on charges of robbery and attempted armed robbery. It was unclear whether he has an attorney.
Louisiana granted early release to about 1,900 inmates convicted of nonviolent offenses under the new criminal justice package. Police said White’s lengthy arrest record included multiple burglary convictions.
Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, backed the changes, which also won support from Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature. Supporters said the changes were patterned on new laws in other Southern states. While reducing the prison population, the legislation is aimed at trimming the costs of incarceration.
The legislation requires about $184 million of the estimated $262 million in savings over the next decade to be reinvested in services for crime victims and programs designed to keep people from returning to prison.
Despite its bipartisan support, the law also had critics. On Thursday afternoon, Citizens for Louisiana Job Creators, a political action committee supportive of Attorney General Jeff Landry, a Republican and frequent Edwards critic, noted White’s arrest and the Kenner Police Department’s statement that his arrest record includes 64 burglary counts. Landry had been critical of the early release.
“All of these individuals were going to be released anyway,” Edwards said Thursday after a news conference at the governor’s mansion in Baton Rouge. “All of them were serving sentences for non-violent, non-sex crimes. So we want the recidivism rate to be zero. We don’t have a reasonable expectation it’s going to be zero, so you’re always worried about individuals getting out and reoffending.”