Program to help inmates at release in Livingston

Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard and Paul Perkins, of Louisiana Workforce LLC, will bring a Work Release program to Livingston Parish.

Ard said that he wants to rehabilitate inmates. He said several inmates have told him they don’t know what they’re going to do once they’re released from the Detention Center. Most have no jobs and in some cases no housing. In his experience, within weeks, those same inmates were back at the Detention Center.

“This program will hopefully help them transition out of the system and into society,” Ard said.

The plan calls for taking the majority of the Department of Corrections inmates in the Livingston Parish Detention Center and put them to work. To get the program off the ground, these inmates will continue being housed at the Detention Center. Ard plans to build a Work Release facility next to the Livingston Parish Training Center on Woodside Drive in Walker.

To be eligible, inmates would have to be serving time for nonviolent crimes and have less than three years on their sentences. The Department of Corrections is screening inmates to participate in the program.

The Work Release program will match inmates with open positions in Livingston Parish.

“Parish business leaders are supportive of this program,” Ard said. “They are looking forward to the skilled and reliable workforce we’ll now be able to offer.”

Ard said Work Release inmates have been active in Livingston Parish for years, coming from other parishes. With this program, the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office will be more involved.

“Once inmates get released from the Detention Center, they’ll have a plan to be successful,” Ard said.

Perkins operates Work Release programs in Pointe Coupee, West Feliciana, Iberia, Terrebonne and East Baton Rouge parishes. More than 900 inmates are participating in the Work Release programs operated by Louisiana Workforce.