BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – A new group of graduates are transitioning from the criminal justice system to the working world.

On Friday, 22 people participated in the Baton Rouge Day Reporting Center’s winter graduation ceremony. This is the largest graduating class since the program began in 2015.

GEO Reentry Services works hand-in-hand with the Louisiana Department of Corrections to offer a number of education courses including anger management, substance abuse, job readiness, and resume-building to help people transition from prison life to normal life.

The ultimate goal is to prevent people from making the same mistakes and going back into the system. 

Rechail Johnson, the 56-year-old graduate, says this is a monumental moment for him. He spent 23 years behind bars.

“So many had count me out. But, like I said I just continue to keep pushing, pressing forward,” said Johnson.

Upon completing his required courses, Johnson says he’ll be working for the City of Baton Rouge. His goal is to continue his education and hopefully purchase a house.

“Individuals in our program have never graduated before. They never had the excitement of putting on a cap and gown,” said Torrey Williams, GEO Reentry Services Program director.

To learn more about the programs visit the website.