DA Dinvaut appointed to Governor’s prisoner reentry advisory council

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, November 16, 2016

LAPLACE — St. John the Baptist Parish District Attorney Bridget A. Dinvaut recently was recommended to serve as a commissioned member of Louisiana’s Reentry Advisory Council under Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Bridget A. Dinvaut

Bridget A. Dinvaut

Dinvaut, who has served as St. John’s District Attorney since January of 2015, will represent the Louisiana District Attorneys Association and serve a four-year term until 2020.

“It is an absolute privilege and honor, first of all, as a newly elected district attorney to have my peers trust me enough to nominate me to the governor to represent them on this board,” Dinvaut said. “It’s absolutely amazing.”

The Council was created to address the high costs spent by communities to incarcerate offenders, then try to rehabilitate them before returning them to the community.

“The Louisiana State Legislature recognized that, in addition to occupational skills development, it is absolutely essential to provide proper substance abuse counseling, mentoring and other programs to assist individuals as they return to their communities with a focus on breaking the cycle that prevents them from moving forward with their lives,” Dinvaut said.

Successful reentry programs will save money in the long run, she said.

“We are paying this outrageous amount of money to incarcerate and house this individual, but then they are coming back to the community and they reoffend,” Dinvaut said.

“The whole premise behind the advisory council is to get together to give advice to the legislature, to the Governor’s office, on meaningful and effective strategies to have offenders re-enter into the communities in a positive and productive way so they will not reoffend. That way, we can reduce the recidivism rate of those offenders and, hopefully, have some savings passed on to tax payers and for public safety and welfare.”

The program is near and dear to Dinvaut’s heart as she has a similar program in place in St. John Parish, the Opportunity Now Program, in partnership with Louisiana Rehabilitative Services and the Workforce Commission.

“It’s an adult diversion program that facilitates life skills,” Dinvaut said.

“They’re actually receiving instruction in victim awareness, substance abuse, conflict resolution and crime prevention. We’re trying to put tools in their toolboxes so they can become positive and productive citizens.”