Young adults who have had a brush with the criminal justice system and want to bring their lives back into focus can now get help, thanks to the Caddo Parish District Attorney and Goodwill Industries.

Caddo Parish District Attorney James E. Stewart Sr. and Goodwill Industries of North Louisiana have partnered in the Life Launch Re-entry Program, designed to help low-income young adults take part in the DA’s pre-trial diversion program.  This gives some first-time offenders a second chance through up to a year of counseling, restitution and community service. Participants must be age 18-24, live in a low-income Census tract area of Caddo Parish, be involved in the criminal justice system and not be a sex offender.

“I want to thank Goodwill Industries for their  partnership in this endeavor,” said DA Stewart. “I do not want any young person to ever mistakenly believe that administrative costs of our pre-trial diversion program will prohibit them from participating in the program.  I do not want any eligible young person to miss out on pre-trial diversion opportunities being offered to them due to lack of funds. The program is rigorous but beneficial, and upon completion their charges may be amended or dismissed.”

Goodwill Industries Life Launch Re-entry Program Manager Von Jennings echoed Stewart.

“We know he is extremely interested in uplifting the lives of young people in this community,” Jennings said. “This initiative is one of five sites in the country and Goodwill is honored to bring it to Caddo Parish.  This initiative will allow some  young adults  the opportunity and resources for a second chance.”

The program currently has resources to assist up to 50 new participants. It can offer these people educational courses to earn the high diploma equivalency (HiSet), post-secondary education, on-the-job skill training, job readiness, life-skill training and job-placement assistance. In addition, participants are eligible for supportive services such as clothing, bus passes, rental deposits, identification records and emergency assistance.

People who want to take part in the program should call Goodwill Industries and ask for Life Launch at (318) 868-4701, or contact the Caddo Parish District Attorney pre-trial diversion department.