National Men's Wearhouse campaign benefits SWLA area

National suit drive benefits SWLA
"Roughly 15,000-16,000 people are paroled each year" said Charles Finkley, Administrative Manager for the Lake Charles District Probation and Parole.  "Out of that number, 7,500 are returned to prison". 
That's in the state of Louisiana alone, but even in Calcasieu Parish, the conversation of prison, parole and probation continues. 
"3,800 plus probations and parolees... these are people free on supervision from the courts and the parole boards that are being monitored by my staff" said Finkley.  
Finkley says one of his main goals is re-entry.
"We can't keep paying for incarceration.  "We're paying room, board and medical for our incarcerated population" he said. 
He and his team tries to find alternative ways, even around the community, to re-integrate former inmates into society.
"To our surprise there are people in this community who are willing to step up and help to try to do what they can to help and wasn't looking to be paid for it" Finkley said. 
During the month of July a national campaign, sponsored by the Men's Wearhouse, attempts to help the re-entry strategy.
The program works by customers donating their gently worn dress clothes to the store and receiving a coupon.  But the program has goals bigger than just handing out discounts.
"We can help those in need who are looking for work that can't afford a suit" said Men's Wearhouse Assistant Store Manager, Casey O'Brien.
They're committed to helping people trying to re-enter the work force, prepare for that first interview or first day. 
"Let's face it... your first impression is probably the best impression you need to be making" said O'Brien. "A lot of these guys may have been laid off for months at a time, they may not be able to afford a new suit so we're able to help them out by giving back". 
Although it's a national campaign, the program helps people right here in southwest Louisiana.
"I can't explain the look on an inmates face at Phelps Correctional Center when he's being released and being paroled and they can provide a suit" said Finkley.  "At the very least when he goes on a job interview he can look presentable... first impressions can go a long way" Finkley said.  

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - To participate in the program just visit any Men's Wearhouse store nationwide.  They will be accepting donations through July 31st.

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