ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KLFY) – After a six-month planning process, the Second Chance Program in St. Landry Parish launched June 1st.
Parish President Jessie Bellard says the program is aimed at stopping repeat non-violent offenders from entering the jail. Bellard says the program is doing better than they ever expected and the process is benefiting everyone involved from the former inmates, all the way to parish government. “If we can catch them before they re-offend and get them into a program and get them help, it’s a win-win for everybody,” Bellard explains.
Over thirty inmates are currently enrolled in the program and is strictly based on a voluntary basis. The offenders get the help they need while parish government avoids the cost of jail use. “Instead of throwing them back into jail, they are actually getting out and into rehab and getting medical attention they need,” says Bellard. It costs parish government $18 a day per inmate, with over 30 inmates enrolled in the program, Bellard says they are saving around $16,000 dollars a month.
He admits the biggest accomplishment is it is slowing down repeat offenders, something the parish jail has been plagued with. “You can get someone out on Monday. They are back on Friday,” adds Bellard.
Parish government does not pay for rehab. They find the help and facility, the inmate then covers the cost. Bellard says the inmates have assistance through the federal government to help them get into the program. Once they complete a 28-day in-house treatment, they help find “career building jobs”.
Bellard continues, “They get out of jail, then rehab, and then back into a structured environment.”