Stephen Coco, Reginald Rome and Lawrence Martin, all have things in common. One of those, they all spent time in our state’s prison system.
“I’ve been convicted four times, you know so, it’s like right now my life is like a blessing to even be free,” said Martin.
However change did come for all of them at the Baton Rouge Day Reporting Center.
“I’ll say this program has taken me a long way. This program took me so far, I have never in my life, ever landed a job, where I made over $10 an hour. I presently employed making $15 an hour working at a piping company, thanks to this company,” said Rome.
The Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections James LeBlanc listened to stories, like Rome’s, and took a tour to see first hand how much these programs are needed in this community.
“We, unfortunately, lost four of these in the budget cuts last year. So, our initiative right now is to get those back, and really it’s a cost-saver. There’s no question about it. We had to cut those because we had no choice, but ultimately, you end up spending more money by putting more people in prison,” said Sec. LeBlanc.
“We teach them resumes. We also teach them social skills, life skills, how to shake an interviewers hands. How to say yes ma’am and no ma’am. Just small, soft skills that they all should know, but we just reintegrate and make sure that they know these certain things,” concluded Candace Wilkinson, the program director of the BR Day Reporting Center.
The program is at least 90 days, and the center works with up to 50 ex-offenders at a time.
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