A New Orleans program that offers an alternative to prison will expand to include Jefferson Parish this month.
The New Orleans Day Reporting Center has been operating since last October and is geared toward parolees and offenders on probation recommended by the Department of Public Safety Division of Probation and Parole.
Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman said the program offers an alternative to incarceration.
“Jails aren’t always the answer to making us safer,” Gusman said. “We’re changing their focus from staying out of jail to becoming a productive member of society.”
The program includes completion of two levels that require daily treatment, random drug and alcohol testing, community service and an active job search or enrollment in school, The New Orleans Times Picayune reported.
The second level can only be achieved after four consecutive clean drug screens, successful completion of level one goals, a recommendation of the interdisciplinary team and a plan to secure full-time employment, according to the program’s Web site.
After graduating, the final level includes follow-up consultations or group sessions for up to a year after receiving their diplomas, the newspaper added.
The fourth group of graduates completed the program last week. All of the graduates reportedly found employment by the time they received their diplomas. The program currently has 50 participants, but is expected to gain more after its expansion.