Three former inmates graduate from RISE program

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Three men that served time in federal prison now feel like they're more prepared for the outside world thanks to a new program called RISE: Rehabilitating Individuals through Strategic Encounters.

The graduation was held at the federal courthouse on Florida Street Wednesday morning. The program took the men through intensive counseling. This is the first graduating class ever for the program.

Chief U.S. Probation Officer for the Louisiana Middle District Clarence Rambo says the men were hesitant to go through the program at first. "As the program progressed, they realized that we were trying to help them and do whatever we could to help get their lives back on track," Rambo said. "I saw boys actually turn into men and husbands and fathers and better employees."

U.S. District Court Judge Shelly Dick was on hand to give the men their certificates. She says the program has been a big help to the justice system.

"When people are released from prison and placed on probation, sometimes they relapse, they slip up, and unfortunately, we have to put them back in jail," Dick said. "And so from a judge's perspective, that's not something you wanna' do."

Dick says her goal is to get as many former inmates through the program as possible. Rambo hopes the program will expand to other parishes and states.

Copyright 2018 WAFB. All rights reserved.