Outgoing Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has made reducing the state’s prison population a top priority of his final term in office. 

The Democrat governor has pardoned 56 inmates since October, including 40 convicted murderers.

According to the New York Post, one of the individuals convicted of murder was on death row, while another had fatally stabbed a woman 39 times. 

Other pardoned inmates received convictions of arson, robbery, aggravated kidnapping, and drug dealing.

Fox News reports:

With a staggering 1,094 people per 100,000 in some form of incarceration, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has made reducing the state’s grossly over-populated prisons a top priority of his final term in office.


“For as long as I can remember, Louisiana reflexively responded to an increase in crime by putting more people in prison and keeping them there longer,” Edwards told Louisiana news outlet NOLA.com this week.

“We’ve never been made safer as a result of that,” Edwards said. “There is no data to suggest that an increase in crime here was because of the reforms.”

“Louisiana’s departing governor has granted pardons to 40 individuals convicted of murder in his last three months in office, aiming to change the state’s status as the nation’s leader in incarceration rates,” Chuck Callesto writes.

“John Bel Edwards, the sole Democratic governor in the southern region, is set to step down on January 8, having completed the maximum allowable duration of two four-year terms. At 57 years old, the governor, who is also a lawyer, has focused on decreasing the prison population of Louisiana,” he added.

Future pardons could be announced after the holidays, the New York Post noted.

More from the New York Post:

Eleven of the 40 jailed murderers were convicted in the first degree, or those who killed a human being with the specific intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm and engaged in the preparation of the crimes that led to the killing.

Ricky Washington, 65, was found guilty of fatally shooting a grocery store owner during an armed robbery in Shreveport in 1979, according to KTBS.

Owner Grady Haynes was behind the counter of YQ Grocery and was shot once in the back of the head by Washington who was using a .32-caliber handgun, according to the case brief.

Washington faced the death penalty, but the jury was unable to come to a unanimous decision, which forced the case’s judge to rule he be sentenced to life behind bars.

Another pardon involved a man who fatally stabbed a woman nearly 40 times.

Nick Charles Nicholson, who also received a pardon, was found guilty of fatally stabbing convenience store worker Kelly Ann Gramm in 1981.

Gramm was discovered with 39 stabbed wounds across her body, and a broken tip of a knife lodged in her skull, the outlet reported.

Nicholson, 60, was arrested after police found him in his car with blood on his clothes and a cash register sitting next to him.

He also faced the death penalty but was sentenced to life in prison.

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