Jindal and Gender



By Allen Johnson

A victim’s rights group is protesting Gov. Bobby Jindal’s appointment of an all-male state pardon board as insensitive to the needs of female crime victims and women inmates with children. David R. Kent, vice president of Victims & Citizens Against Crime Inc. (VCAC) and a retired assistant NOPD superintendent, says he will protest the “gender imbalance” of the panel when the Louisiana Senate schedules confirmation hearings on the new appointees. Louisiana’s history of violent crime “screams for a broader understanding and knowledge” of domestic violence and sex crimes as well as the “dire circumstances” facing women prisoners with children, says Kent. Jindal has replaced all but one of the five Pardon Board members named by predecessor Kathleen Blanco, including Julia Sims of Ponchatoula, a professional photographer and VCAC member who served on the pardon panel for 12 years. VCAC, based in Metairie, exercised its statutory but nonbinding privilege of recommending a replacement for Sims by nominating its president, Beverly S. Siemssen, a social worker from Kenner. The pardon board considers applications by convicted felons for pardons, commutations of sentence, and the restoration of citizenship rights, such as voting. The governor’s press office could not be reached for comment.

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