Prisoner release law saving $5M less than expected

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) – Louisiana's corrections department isn't saving nearly as much money as expected from a new law that allows nonviolent drug offenders to leave prison early and others to avoid jail if they complete a drug treatment program.

A report from legislative budget analysts released this week says this year's budget assumes $6 million in savings from the law.

Instead, the Legislative Fiscal Office says the expectations have dropped by more than $5 million, to $815,000 in savings.

The shift to rehabilitation and substance abuse treatment for low-risk offenders was backed by Gov. Bobby Jindal as a way to save money and reduce repeat offenses.

The fiscal office says the corrections department has had difficulty finding qualified offenders to participate.

It was unclear Thursday how the department will fill the budget gap.

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