Photo provided by LORI STEELE -- Gathered Sept. 22 at 28225 Woodside Drive in Walker to break ground on a Livingston Parish Transitional Work Program building, from left, are Lester McLin, of McLin and Associates; Hunt Ragusa, of Brunt Construction; Brian Asa, of Grace and Hebert Architects; April Wehrs, of the Livingston Parish Chamber; Brian McNabb, district director for Congressman Bill Cassidy; warden and Maj. Perry Rushing; Maj. Stan Carpenter, Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief of Detectives; LPSO CFO Jaime C. Felder; Maj. Jim Brown, LPSO Uniform Patrol; Burl Cain, warden at Angola State Penitentiary; Sheriff Jason Ard; Parish President Layton Ricks; and Paul Perkins, of Louisiana Workforce.

Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard and others gathered Sept. 22 at 28225 Woodside Drive, Walker, to break ground on a Livingston Parish Transitional Work Program building.

The program has been active and operating out of the Livingston Parish Detention Center since March 2013, a news release from the sheriff’s office said. The program uses one cell block within the LPDC. It can accommodate 75 inmates, the release said.

“A new, larger facility means an opportunity to double the size of the program,” Ard said. “Meaning, we can help more offenders. With over 20 years in law enforcement, countless inmates have told me they don’t know what they’re going to do once they’re released. Most had no jobs and in some cases — no housing. Then, within weeks, I’d see those same inmates back behind bars. This program is helping them transition out of the system and into society.”

To be eligible for the program, inmates have to be serving time for nonviolent crimes and have less than three years left on their sentences, the release said. The Department of Corrections screens inmates for participation.

The Work Release program matches inmates with open positions in Livingston Parish. More than 60 full-time employed offenders work at 31 different job sites.

Offenders in the program pay for their own housing, food, transportation, medical and clothing costs, the release said. Money earned also goes toward child support, fines and any fees owed. They pay taxes on fees earned.

Upon release, those in the program have the option of keeping the jobs they have been working.

Paul Perkins, of Louisiana Workforce LLC, will continue to run the program in Livingston Parish, the release said.