More than half of Louisiana inmates are back behind bars five years after being released from jail. Gov. Bobby Jindal, Corrections Secretary Jimmy LeBlanc and sheriffs want to change that, reports the Shreveport Times. Yesterday, they announced a re-entry program designed to prepare inmates better for release and re-entry into society so they do not become repeat offenders. Jindal has set aside $1.1 million in the 2009-10 budget to pay for the program, which will expand to 10 regional offices.
It will attempt to take inmates in their last few months of incarceration and teach something so they do not end up back in jail, Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator said. “We don’t ever want to see them again, except maybe in the Wal-Mart shopping with their families, leading a productive life. Anybody (who) believes in changing the oil in your car would have to say this is a good program. This is preventative maintenance.” Louisiana has the nation’s second-highest per-capita recidivism rate. Inmates will be medically, mentally, and educationally evaluated to determine placement when they enter prison. They will undergo three to six months of training. Up to 225 prisoners will be able to participate in each regional re-entry program, all conducted by local sheriff’s offices.