Academy to give inside look at probation and parole

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The office of Probation and Parole does more than just put people back in jail.

A seminar set Thursday, Dec. 3 will be presented to let the community know they aren’t just about putting people in jail. The Community and Corrections Academy will be from 6 until 8 p.m. at Northwest Louisiana Technical College, located 9500 Industrial Drive in Minden.
Probation and Parole Officer Yuliana Johnson says the academy is to close the gap between their office and the community to teach people about what they do.

“It’s not just trying to lock people up,” Johnson said. “It’s the last thing we try to do. We’re here help. We’re not here to hurt. We’re trying to help them be better members of society instead of them going back and committing the same crime. Most of the time, people go back and commit a crime because they don’t have the money, so they go back and do it again; whereas if we can help them find a job and a stable place to live, they won’t go back to that lifestyle.”

Offender Welfare Officer Brittany Lapoole is tasked with finding clothing, food, counseling and other resources to help parolees in need. Lapoole says her job entails helping those who have been incarcerated for long periods of time.

“They come back and they don’t have anything,” she said. “They don’t have anywhere to stay, no clothes or food. We get with the local shelters and find them clothes, and if we have to go out ourselves, we get it. We can put them in local shelters that will keep them for an extended period of time until they can find work and housing.”

The academy will teach the community what they do such as how they train to become probation and parole officers, defensive tactics, police relations with the community and community resources they offer and how they help the victims of crime.

“We’re basically opening ourselves up to the community for whatever questions they may have and how they feel about us,” Johnson said. “We all need to work together. The world is not going in the right way, but if we work together, we can overcome anything.”

Johnson says the idea for the academy came from the administrative director in Alexandria. She attended the academy there and wanted to bring it back to the Minden district, she said.
Regional director Louis Stacks will be one of the guest speakers, and Johnson says he will talk about the role of Probation and Parole.

Johnson and Lapoole say this academy is not just for the community. It is for law enforcement officials as well.

Region I is comprised of Minden, Shreveport, Monroe, Alexandria, Tallulah and Natchitoches.

There are 12 officers in the Minden District, which covers Webster, Jackson, Claiborne and Bienville parishes. Each officer handles an average of 150 cases, Johnson said.

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