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Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office expands women's work release program

OUACHITA PARISH - (01-07-18) -- It has been proven that nearly 80% of people in jail return after they've been released from prison. Ouachita Parish Sheriff Jay Russell is on a mission to change that in our community. "We're always looking at ways to reduce the recidivism rate at our correctional center. [We're] trying to keep people out and keep people from coming back," he said.

The Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Office is expanding it's women's work release program so that more people can benefit. This includes the women, businesses, and tax payers. 

Through the work release program, costs are offset because with the earnings that the inmates make, they can supplement the costs for their incarceration. Sheriff Russell says he has seen that this program works. "If an individual is working and he or she has some money in their checking account when they leave prison, they don't have to fall right back into the same environment that they were in before."

One local business owner who utilizes the work release program says it is a huge help to her business.  "The work release program provides women that are coming here everyday, they're on time, they're vested, [and] it gives them an opportunity to earn some money for themselves," said General Manager of AmeriPride Tracey Foldnauer.

Foldnauer said she understands how hard it can be for these women to start their life after prison. "I know that sometimes with some of these employees, had they not had the opportunity to come here prior to their release, it would be difficult sometimes for them to go out into the community and try to find work with their criminal past," she said.

Foldnauer shared that she has been able to hire roughly nine women recently as full time employees and supervisors. She said that it makes her feel amazing to be able to give back to the community in this way. 

 


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