The St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office presented its 17th class for its Opportunity Now Re-Entry Program for inmates during a graduation ceremony March 22, 2022 at the Sherman Walker Correctional Facility in LaPlace.
Sheriff Mike Tregre congratulated the 12 graduates on their accomplishments in the program and encouraged them to work hard to rebuild their lives. “This is your second chance to make the right decisions,” Sheriff Tregre told the graduates.
Also on hand to commend graduates were Opportunity Now teacher Carolyn Kennedy and Warden Gordon Jeffcoat.
Opportunity Now is the only re-entry program with built-in job placement, case management and follow along services in the state, Lewis said. The local program is a collaborative effort between the St. John Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana Workforce Commission, Louisiana Rehabilitation Services and the Louisiana Department of Corrections to provide work readiness, job placement and other self-sufficiency services to qualified inmates.
Re-Entry participants are required to successfully complete three months of intensive work readiness and life skills training. The courses are designed to help inmates make better choices and to cope with a variety of issues they may face upon re-entering society.
Since the start of the program in St. John Parish in 2014 until the present, Opportunity Now officials report that 189 inmates have participated in the program, with 187 inmates graduating. Three people have been rearrested; and 91 have been placed for employment.
Sheriff Tregre, who started this program within the SJSO, said he is proud of the Opportunity Now partnership with the Louisiana Workforce Commission, Louisiana Rehabilitation Services and the Louisiana Department of Corrections.
“This program has been successful,” Sheriff Tregre said, “because we have a group of people who work hard to rehabilitate inmates and help them transition into society to become productive members of society.”