In Louisiana, one in three people released from prison returns in three years. That's accoring to Andrew Koetsier of the Northeast Delta Human Services Authority.
The agency hosts a prison reentry summit "Stop the Cycle," Tuesday, June 11, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church in West Monroe, in Tennison Hall at the West Monroe campus.
Jamie Donaldson, program manager for Goodwill Industries, says people face many challenges after being released from a correctional facility. "Housing is one of the largest issues that people face when released. They also need jobs to be able to sustain themselves, and transportation -- especially in a rural area like northeast Louisiana."
The event features presentations from an array of speakers, including Dr. Monteic A. Sizer, Rhett Convington, and Corey Acosta, as well as testimonies of several formerly incarcerated people.
According to Koetsier, while the Louisiana Reentry (LA-Re) program is intended for formerly incarcerated people, this summit is for anyone interested in attending. "It's really for everybody. You may have a family member who's incarcerated and maybe those who are coming out, called formerly incarcerated people." Koetsier then goes on to discuss the different aspects that will be presented at the summit.
Donaldson explains that many individuals have come out of the correctional system and gained a Hi-Set (formerly GED), and others have entered the construction industry or gained certifications that make them valuable as employees.
Registration for the summit is at 8 a.m., and the event is free to the public. A light breakfast and lunch will be served.
The Northeast Delta Human Services Authority partners with Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana for this summit to commit to promoting self-sufficiency with the LaRe program. The two agencies also aim to lessen recidivism in the communities of Northeast Louisiana by utilizing the flexible, adaptive, and positive approach that the LA-Re program offers. The focus of the program is to meet the needs of formerly incarcerated people battling with mental illness and addiction as they return to their communities.