ST. GABRIEL, LA (WAFB) - It's an unlikely partnership, prison guards and inmates, joining together to make prison a safer place, but that's what's happening at prisons around Louisiana.
"We're trying to clean up our own neighborhood," said Marlon Banks, an inmate.
That's easier said than done when your neighborhood is a prison. But offenders at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center are all about it.
"Clearly, this institution has a problem with drugs and violence. Every institution does. We, as offenders, are trying to come together to help authorities where we can to try to curb it," said Banks.
It starts with meetings with law enforcement and community leaders to get inmate leaders on board.
"Guess what I found out about young guys on the street? They are followers. They just need somebody to lead," said Albert King, another inmate.
It leads to these same mentors moving into dorms with disciplinary problems to live with and coach other inmates.
"We've placed mentors in dorms that other people won't even live in. It's showing great results," said King.
"We used to see cell phones show up. We used to see contraband show up. It's pretty much ceased," said Tim Hooper, a warden Elayn Hunt.
Hooper says violence is down too. He attributes it to the hope the mentors bring with them.
King should know. He sat with these offenders just two years ago.
"At the end of the day, it comes down to choices. Individual choices. You just have to make the right choice," said King.