Results are presented from a comprehensive Probation Review of Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish. These are especially helpful if your probation department is considering revamping operations in order to achieve better efficiency and reduced recidivism. Sections of this report include: implementation successes; history of the agency; background to the review implementation; assessing the system; prioritization of report recommendations; work plan implementation; changing a system using Probation Review elements—Element A - Program Planning and Implementation, Element B - Best Practices and Benchmarking, Element C - Performance Measurement and Client Outcomes, and Element D - Intra- and Interagency Work Processes; and conclusion. Appendixes include: Statement of Work; excerpt from the work plan; meeting inventory example; Process Evaluation—Staff Meeting; Probation Officer’s Role, Responsibilities and Duties; Criteria Sheet with Performance Measures; Graduated Response Grid; and benchmarks list. “Efforts in Jefferson Parish resulted in substantial improvements in nearly every aspect of the Probation Department activities, including reduced recidivism, reduced rates of detention, reduced probation caseloads, and increased savings.”
In order to ensure that limited jail and prison beds are maintained for high-risk offenders while lower-risk offenders are placed in more effective and cheaper options, the Louisiana legislature passed a law that limits the incarceration time of first-time probation or parole violators to 90 days. "Louisiana’s 90-day revocation limit has: Reduced the average length of incarceration for first-time technical revocations in Louisiana by 281 days, or 9.2 months; Maintained public safety, with returns to custody for new crimes declining from 7.9 percent to 6.2 percent, a 22 percent decrease; Resulted in a net savings of approximately 2,034 jail and prison beds a year; Saved taxpayers an average of $17.6 million in annual corrections costs" (p. 1)
While each chapter lists the various organizations that will assist ex-offenders in Lafayette Parish, other correctional agencies will find the in depth explanations of what issues impact the chapter's topic very useful for their efforts to develop or update their own reentry guides. "This Reentry Survival Manual was created to strengthen your skills and help you overcome any barriers that you may face as you return to the community. The Lafayette Parish Sheriff‘s office is dedicated to supporting you as you strive to successfully make your return from incarceration back to your family and community. We encourage you to study and take advantage of this resource packet. We hope that you keep an open mind and positive outlook towards this learning experience. Best of luck to you, we hope you lead a happy life as you go back to your family and friends with a renewed outlook on life" (p. 2). Fourteen chapters are contained in this manual: identification and primary documents; housing; employment; careers; work ethics; transportation; money management; education; Incarcerated Veterans' Program; substance abuse and mental health; family and friend relationships; child support; restorative justice and victim awareness; and living under supervision. This manual also contains: a great flowchart showing how an offender moves through the Lafayette Parish corrections system en route to release; a Reentry Checklist of things the inmate needs to do before release; an exercise helping the offender to determine what things may be a potential barrier to a successful transition to the community; and a checklist for helping the offender plan their personal reentry plan.