An inmate work-release program aimed at reducing the number of offenders who wind up back in prison will be the topic of the Acadiana Press Club forum at noon Monday at the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office’s new public safety complex on Willow Street.
Confirmed panelists include 15th Judicial District Judge Marilyn C. Castle; Rob Reardon, director of the Lafayette Parish Correctional Center; Marie Collins, correctional center treatment manager; Lafayette Parish sheriff’s Lt. Armen Alexandrian, transitional work-release manager; and a transitional work-release program participant.
Panelists will be discussing the transitional work-release program, which gives offenders who qualify to participate an opportunity to work and provide for their families. The panelists also will participate in a question-and-answer session with the Acadiana Press Club membership.
The Sheriff’s Office, which operates the program, says it has been shown to reduce recidivism by teaching new job skills and positive work habits.
Offenders are allowed to earn money to help support family members, provide restitution, pay court fees and/or have funds available to help their transition back into society upon release. In addition to work-release, participants are encouraged — and may be mandated on a case-by-case basis — to attend educational, substance abuse and job skills programs.
The Sheriff’s Office will provide lunch to give guests a taste of correctional center food services. Acadiana Press Club members are encouraged to make a $5 donation for lunch, which will be collected by the Sheriff’s Office and donated to St. Joseph’s Diner.
The forum will be held in the transitional work-release facility dining hall at the public safety complex, 1825 W. Willow St.
The lunch forum and membership in the Acadiana Press Club are open to journalists, media professionals, public relations professionals, public information officers, communication professors and students, retired journalists, civic and political leaders, and the general public.