Secretary James M. Le Blanc has worked as a civil servant to the State of Louisiana with the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections for more than 40 years. Prior to committing service in this great state as his career, Le Blanc enlisted in the United State Army and served during the Vietnam War. Upon earning an honorable discharge in 1971, he returned to school and received a B.A. in Business Administration from Southeastern Louisiana University in December 1972.
Starting his correctional career in the Business Office at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women in 1973, Le Blanc promoted through the ranks with a commitment to working hard and making a difference. Throughout his career, he’s been known for the in depth research and analysis he’s conducted in implementing programs that were “evidence based” even before the description existed. Some examples include the Department’s Youthful Offender Program, Faith and Character Based Housing Program, and the beginning of the Department’s reentry initiative, then known as Corrections Organized for Reentry (CORe).
Le Blanc has served in various capacities at both the unit and headquarters level, including Undersecretary (1992-1995) and interim Director of Probation and Parole (1998-1999). He served as the Warden at Dixon Correctional Institute for 12 years prior to accepting the role as Acting Chief of Operations in 2007. During that time, he was recognized by the National Association of Wardens and Superintendents (NAAWS) as the “Warden of the Year.”
It was in January 2008 when Governor Bobby Jindal appointed Le Blanc to the Cabinet position with responsibility for statewide correctional operations. In 2016 and 2020, he was reappointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to continue to lead the charge in corrections in Louisiana. In 2016, Le Blanc was appointed to serve as the Chair of Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Task Force, a bi-partisan group that conducted an in-depth study of Louisiana’s criminal justice system. The Task Force report was responsible for 10 bills that make up the most comprehensive criminal justice reform in the state’s history and which today can be credited for the majority of a 34% reduction in Louisiana’s prison population.
Le Blanc was recognized nationally in 2018 by the Correctional Leaders Association, a group of peers who are overseeing corrections departments across the country, as the recipient of the Tom Clements Award, an honor that recognizes his commitment to correctional reform through vision, dedicated mission, progressive reform, and outstanding innovations that improve the corrections profession. Le Blanc’s commitment to this state’s justice system includes a focus on the fundamental importance of public safety while giving all citizens the opportunity to live productive lives. He routinely emphasizes “reentry” as a major factor of the Department’s mission. Reentry is his passion. Le Blanc believes that establishing valuable, real-world vocational, educational and life skills training for offenders in all institutions is one of the keys to ensuring the core mission of public safety. Reducing Louisiana’s number one (in the world) incarceration rate is a tall order, but Le Blanc’s enthusiasm for seeing offenders succeed is all the motivation this leader needs.
Secretary Le Blanc’s legacy in Louisiana Corrections will someday be the commitment he demonstrates to reducing Louisiana’s incarceration rate through strategic criminal justice reform and implementation of justice reinvestment in the state.