Rob Reardon, who’s overseen corrections during outgoing Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mike Neustrom’s four terms, has resigned from his position.
Reardon said Wednesday he’s seeking new opportunities to expand his experience, which has centered around building alternatives to jail for vulnerable populations, like those experiencing homelessness or mental illness.
“The system that I’ve constructed here and at the direction of Sheriff Neustrom works really well, but I think for me, if I want to take it to the next level, I need to go someplace else,” Reardon said.
His last day is June 30 — also the end of Neustrom’s administration. Sheriff-elect Mark Garber takes office July 1.
Reardon has overseen the implementation of diversion programs that seek to reroute the number of misdemeanor offenders processed into the jail, along with re-entry programs designed to reduce the likelihood of offenders committing another crime. The Sheriff’s Office reports success with the programs, which include mental health treatment and are seen statewide as a model for success.
Reardon also has stressed the necessity of getting ahead of the issues of homelessness and mental illness in a proactive way.
He and the Sheriff’s Office hosted a series of forums on those issues this year.
“The ability to manage those people before they come into jail is really the key and the success for the future of communities,” Reardon said.
Over the past year, Reardon also helped develop a partnership with Catholic Services of Acadiana, which is the primary — and stretched-thin — service provider for the parish’s homeless population.
The Sheriff’s Office is coordinating with the organization to build a new “low-barrier” shelter for homeless people, one that’s free of the requirements often cited for entry at local shelters, like sobriety or a lodging fee.
Garber has brought in Cathy Fontenot to work in corrections under his administration, and she’s already begun work, the sheriff-elect said Wednesday.
Fontenot served as an assistant warden at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola for almost two decades and worked for the past year with the state Attorney General’s Office.
Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook, or contact her by phone at (337) 534-0825.