Regarding the recent story on prison work release (and those on WWL-TV), I would like to set the record straight.
First of all, as a prison warden with many years of experience, I could just incarcerate and release prisoners at the end of their sentence and have no concern for the public. My job is keeper of the keys. However, that attitude would not be in the best interest of the public. Many prison systems are revolving doors: Inmate in, inmate out, another crime, another crime victim, inmate back in.
We realize that as inmates morally rehabilitate in prison (yes, some do), many release without support between prison and meaningful employment. As a result, the inmate sometimes “falls through the cracks” and commits another crime (another victim). This is where transitional work programs fill in the gap. Inmates transition slowly back into society. Transitional work programs find the inmate a job, provide a place to sleep, as well as offer food, medicine, education, and drug and alcohol testing and treatment. Inmates are able to pay restitution and child support, and contribute millions of dollars in federal and state taxes.
When discharged from transitional work programs, the inmate is more able to make his way successfully back into the community. Corrections exists to correct deviant behavior. No more crime victims is our real goal. Transitional work programs are very important to the rehabilitative process.
It’s wrong to imply something sinister and a back-scratching deal just because Louisiana has created one of the most progressive prison systems in the country. I have always said if I want to stay out of the media and not be criticized, then I would simply keep the keys. That’s not my personality or leadership style. Media should not assume or imply wrong-doing because we are creative, hard-working state employees finding a better way to rehabilitate the incarcerated and reduce crime victims.
Louisiana Workforce owner Paul Perkins worked for the department for many years — from the rank of lieutenant to deputy warden. He is a corrections professional — conscientious, well-trained and very capable of managing inmates progressively and safely. I’m not on his payroll and never have been, nor is Department of Public Safety and Corrections secretary Jimmy LeBlanc, and we have never been business partners. The headline implying “insider connections” is inappropriate and irresponsible journalism. Quite frankly, it borders on slander.
In conclusion, Paul Perkins/Louisiana Work Force contracts directly with local sheriffs and not with the Department of Corrections.
warden, Louisiana State Penitentiary