Story By: Jeff Ferrell
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) – Yesterday, officials held a news conference announcing Shreveport would be receiving federal help to stop the violence in the city.
Officials met again today to discuss the fight against crime, and specifically, domestic violence.
Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator pointed to several flaws in the legal system that lead to more crime. He says two problems in particular are the ‘catch and release’ sentencing system and not enough emphasis on getting guns out of the hands of felons.
Prator said a major issue in the justice system is that it allows repeat offenders back out on the streets.
In the case of Dwayne Willie Watkins, he had already been arrested 25 times before he murdered a couple in 2018 and left them to be found in their burned out car. He was a convicted felon.
“He [Watkins] was already out when he raped the kids. And he was out when he killed the people at Mall St. Vincent and he should have still been in jail for that. This is not atypical,” said Prator.
Cases like these led Prator to push for tougher charges and harsher punishments for repeated felons in possession of a fire arm.
When it comes to domestic abuse, Jeri Bowen, executive director of the Family Justice Center, cautions people to not let their abusers back into their lives once they’re out of jail.
She says it’s a scary situation for a victim to get their abuser behind bars, only to see that same person out of jail all-too-soon.
“Unfortunately, in our day in society… our jails are at capacity. And there’s more of them than there is place to put them,” said Bowen.