ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KLFY) — St. Landry Parish Government is launching a “second chance” program for non-violent offenders.

The program looks to reduce jail populations and prevent repeat offenses by connecting eligible individuals to available resources and jobs.

Parish President Jessie Bellard told News 10, “The District Attorney Chad Pitre is on board. Sheriff Bobby Guidroz is on board 100%, and our public defender Ed Lopez is on board. They know and see the issues.”

In the St. Landry Parish jail, there are three types of people in the pre-trial population:

  • those who have attached felonies
  • those who can not afford to bond out
  • those with mental health or addiction issues

“Our assessment team will analyze them and find a job for them. It is more impressive to appear in front of a judge with a job than without a job,” Bellard explained.

The program is called “Breaking the Cycle.”

“It helps the people who can’t help themselves,” Bellard said. “We’re going to provide the training and the jobs.”

Acadiana Workforce Solutions will work with the non-violent, pre-adjudication offenders, placing them with the right job, suitable to their skill set.

“The ultimate goal is to not have people go back into the facility. Once they are out, they can learn a trade and move forward,” added Bellard.

Bellard hopes granting the offender a second chance will give them purpose, deter them from choosing crime, and keep them from returning to life behind bars.

“Right now, we have 109 inmates in outside facilities. It is costing us $100,000 a month. We have to stop this cycle of them doing what they do and also us paying this hefty bill,” Bellard said.

Upon the completion of the program, the D.A. can dismiss the pending charges. The offender will not be responsible for any fees or court costs.