Parolees celebrate graduation as they transition to life out of prison with new mindsets

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 10:05 PM CST
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - How we respond to people or adverse situations makes all the difference in the world. If you’re always getting into fights, maybe you should re-think your reaction to those circumstances.

A program to help people, specifically those whose actions have landed them in jail, held its first graduation in Lake Charles.

The graduation was unlike most. The group has completed classes to help them transition from jail or prison to life on the outside.

Josh Kane LaPoint, 42, has two aggravated assaults on his record, but thanks to the classes he says he thinks differently than before.

“This program has helped me tremendously in helping me change my mindset, my thought process without harming others or myself,” said LaPoint.

He said going through the program has helped him “control tempers, anxieties, emotions...give me time to organize my thoughts.”

“Tomorrow I’ll be sober three years,” he said.

It’s emotional for the graduates as well as the parole officers and teachers who have helped guide them. It’s a big deal to see someone’s life turn around.

Officer Dowd Dieterich with La. Probation & Parole is proud of Josh.

“Anybody can be a starter. The accomplishments that occur in society are from people who finish. All these people here today including josh are finishers. And that to me is what’s important,” said Dieterich.

Case manager Kim Nolen says helping such people change their lives is her passion.

“The book we work out of is called escaping your own prison. And it’s the prison of your mind. So, they get into this prison in their own mind, and we try to get them released from that prison,” Nolen said.

She said they call it moral reconation (as in re-cognitive) therapy.

“How do you expect them to become successful if you don’t have programs like this. And just someone to hold your hand and kind of guide you along the way on the path that you should take,” said Nolen.

Josh says he’s starting to feel successful.

”I always wanted to succeed, just went about it the wrong way. Now I just work hard and organize my thoughts,” he said.

And he looks forward to the future.

Those who attend the class are referred by their probation and parole officers.