Opportunity Now graduates recognized
LAPLACE — The St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office presented its 12th class for its Opportunity Now Re-Entry Program for inmates during a graduation ceremony July 9, 2019 at the Leonard Robinet Mult-Purpose Room in LaPlace.
Sheriff Mike Tregre congratulated the 13 graduates on their accomplishments in the program and encouraged them to work hard as they rebuild their lives. “I commend you for reaching this goal,” Sheriff Tregre told the graduates. “… Now I encourage you to set more goals for your future and stay on the path to a better life.”
Also on hand to commend graduates were Warden Gordon Jeffcoat and Opportunity Now director Joe Lewis.
Lewis was pleased to report on the success of the Opportunity Now partnership with the St. John Parish Sheriff’s Office. Over the past 15 months, Lewis reported that 23 of 25 graduates have stable employment and none were re-incarcerated.
The SJSO’s Opportunity Now program is a collaborative effort between the St. John Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana Workforce Commission, Louisiana Rehabilitation Services and the Louisiana Department of Corrections to provide work readiness, job placement and other self-sufficiency services to qualified inmates, Lewis said.
Re-Entry participants were required to successfully complete three months of intensive work readiness and life skills training. The courses are designed to help inmates make better choices and to cope with a variety of issues they may face upon re-entering society. Job placement and case management services are also mandated aspects of the SJSO Opportunity Now Re-entry Program.
The program teaches inmates basic skills to help them transition into main stream society and become productive members of society, Lewis said.
Sheriff Tregre, who started this program in 2014, praised Lewis and his staff for their work. “The staff strives to help the inmates become successful when they return to their community,” Tregre said. “Rehabilitation is much better than incarceration.”