A Senate Judiciary committee voted to raise the fees for individuals on probation and parole in Louisiana to increase salaries for parole officers. Alexandria Representative Lance Harris’ measure would up the fee by $37 to $100. Harris hopes this would be an incentive for parole officers to stay in their position.

“In these days and times I think it’s very important that we retain the parole officers that we have and we actually recruit some.”

The Senate panel passed the House approved measure on a 3 to 1 vote. Harris says his legislation is needed because the governor’s criminal justice reform effort will lead to more offenders on probation and parole.

“And when it does pass, it’s going to put an even bigger burden on this department to make sure that they’re adequately staffed to handle the amount of new parolees that will be out due to some of the chances that we’ll be making.”

But New Orleans Senator Karen Carter Peterson says this bill would increase the financial burden placed on parolees. She also says until the House passes a budget that adequately funds state government, no state employee should get a raise.

“If you see people vote against this bill, it is not because we do not want you to have a raise, it is because we want many House members to vote to do fiscal reform and to pass a responsible budget in the House and send it to us.”