The Louisiana corrections department needs to work with the 15,000 inmates leaving prisons each year to make sure fewer return to the system, says Corrections Secretary Richard Stalder, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. About half the people who leave prison return within five years. Of the $567 million the state spends annually on incarcerating criminals and monitoring their probations and paroles, $5.5 million is spent on rehabilitation. Some federal grants provide services like substance-abuse treatment.
Stalder noted that an estimated 80 percent of people in the prison system have substance abuse problems. Prisoners on average read at a fifth-grade level. The state will require that each new inmate is evaluated when entering prison to determine his or her educational needs. The agency has created two new faith-based pilot programs.