Life after prison? The first 72 hours are critical

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Tyrone Smith is one of the founders of The First 72+ group. (Photo credit: Laryssa Bonacquisti/LSU Manship News Service)

Published: Oct. 24, 2018

By: Rachel Mipro, LSU Manship News Service

NEW ORLEANS — There is a garden next to the house on Perdido Street, and a red dog house on the porch that used to belong to a street dog named Frank. You can tell it’s a place where people feel comfortable, a community center.

It’s also a place where 50 men have found new lives right after they got out of prison.

The group that runs the house, The First 72+, helps formerly incarcerated people transition back into society, and it has pioneered the kind of work that the state is now funding as part of its criminal justice reforms.

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced last week that Louisiana will reinvest $8.5 million in savings from reducing the prison population to lower recidivism, support victims and improve public safety in Orleans, Caddo, East Baton Rouge, St. Tammany and Jefferson parishes.

The First 72+ has partnered with Goodwill Industries and Catholic Charities, which will use some of the state money to provide legal services and jobs to the men who pass through the group’s house. The Louisiana Parole Project, a nonprofit in Baton Rouge, will receive $112,165 in state funds to help prisoners from the five parishes return home.

Read more in the Shreveport Times.

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