Louisiana Prisoner Reentry Initiative: Bridging Inmates to the Community


Monday, August 19, 2019
1:15 PM - 2:15 PM
Session Type: Workshop

Faced with one of the highest incarceration rates per capita nationwide, Louisiana corrections and legislative officials has focused on reducing incarceration levels and recidivism rates while maintaining public safety. One such effort is called the Louisiana Prisoner Reentry Initiative, which involves case planning with inmates nearing the end of their terms. The Louisiana Department of Corrections partnered with the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency to engage in strategic planning and revision of the reentry case planning continuum, now known as the Prisoner Reentry Initiative. This workshop will discuss the blueprint for the initiative, its goals, as well as how to implement this effort, including: A Jail Reentry Center, the Probation liaison, and community coordinators who link inmates to community resources. Presenters will also discuss a tool called Targeted Interventions Gaining Enhanced Reentry developed by the Louisiana State University School of Sociology to automate risks, needs and responsivity to identify criminogenic needs.


Kimya Babers
Assistant Director, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office Reentry

Kimya Babers is a Certified Addictions Counselor and has combined 20 years of experience in Corrections and Substance Abuse collectively. She currently serves as the Assistant Director of Reentry Programs with St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, who has been deemed as a Reentry Hub with the Louisiana Department of Corrections. Kimya oversees a staff of case managers, transition specialist, administrative assistant, and HISET instructors. In order to continue to promote the re-entry initiative of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office they have instituted a number of classes promoting change, self-awareness/improvement, recovery living, cognitive restructuring, etc. STPSO Reentry currently offers the following classes: Pre-Release, Living in Balance, Parenting, Anger Management, Thinking for A Change, and Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT).

Akeisha Penn
, GEO Reentry Services

Akeisha Penn currently manages and directs all day-to-day activities within the GEO Reentry Covington Day Reporting Center. The center provides cognitive behavioral therapy, treatment and training for probationers using evidence-based principles and practices. This includes developing and implementing policies and procedures that enable achievement of operational and financial objectives and supporting state and local officials in delivering reentry services.

Mike Phelps
Program Manager, Covington District, LA Department of Public Safety and Corrections

Since 1998 Mike Phelps has held several positions within the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, Division of Probation and Parole, including firearms instructor, defensive tactics instructor and motivational interview instructor. Mike assisted in drafting statewide policies for the special reentry court program, a program that gained national attention for employing cognitive behavioral therapies, reducing recidivism and changing lives.