Delgado Community College announces a new partnership with the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Section K (OPCDC-K) to provide an alternative solution to confinement.
“Delgado Forward” is a pilot, early intervention program for non-violent offenders who meet specific program criteria, which seeks to help participants access one of the most critical components of real economic stability: educational opportunity. Program participants will be selected and screened by the court to enter into one of three Delgado pathways that will meet their educational goals, based on their ability to commit fully to the program standards.
Organizers say they believe that Victor Hugo’s 19th-century remark, "He who opens a school door closes a prison," still holds true today.
The partnership between Delgado and OPCDC-K will help support participants through the application and enrollment process at the college. Delgado will also develop an internship program with the court whereby students from the college’s Criminal Justice program will guide participants through the application and enrollment process, as well as serve as peer mentors. Additionally, support services will be provided to participants to aid in their success, including individualized assessment and screening, benefits screening and career exploration.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Louisiana has the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world, suggesting an urgent need for a viable solution. Studies have demonstrated that education, particularly higher education, is one of the most effective ways to break cycles of poverty, incarceration and re-incarceration. Further, it has been shown that there is an association between higher levels of education and higher earnings, which not only decreases the likelihood of incarceration, but also positively affects the economy.
To that end, Delgado and OPCDC-K are collaborating to offer court participants an opportunity to take advantage of the multiple educational and training pathways at Delgado which lead to high-wage, high demand careers.
“This partnership is exactly what we need to make a positive impact in our community,” said Arthur L. Hunter, judge, Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Section K.
“Delgado Community College is pleased to partner with Judge Hunter to offer this unique opportunity to selected Delgado Forward participants. The foundation of the program aligns perfectly with our mission to provide relevant education and training pathways. There are substantial outcomes that can be realized for successful completers, their families and the community,” said Dr. Arnel W. Cosey, vice chancellor for student affairs at Delgado.