Creating Stronger, Safer Communities Through Second Chances

Terry served 37 years in prison. After his release, he didn’t know where to turn.

“When I came home, I was lost,” he shared as he addressed formerly-incarcerated individuals, nonprofit service providers, and supporters during a Second Chance Month event hosted by United Way of Southeast Louisiana, the Jefferson Parish Louisiana Prisoner Reentry Initiative, Our Community Health, and Servant’s Heart.

Listen to Terry’s story of how United Way’s Prosperity Center and other community programs helped him build a new life below.



Second Chance Month is observed in April to raise awareness of the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction and unlock opportunities for people who have completed their sentences.

Terry’s story highlights some of the challenges individuals returning from prison face as they work to reintegrate and contribute to their community, including:

  • Finding stable employment and housing,
  • Resolving legal matters and outstanding debts,
  • Accessing health care and substance abuse treatment,
  • Dealing with social stigma,
  • And more.

United Way of Southeast Louisiana is committed to supporting individuals returning from prison as part of our mission to eradicate poverty. Poverty increases an individual’s likelihood of involvement with the criminal justice system, and barriers upon release from prison can perpetuate the cycle of poverty. It’s a losing situation for the affected individuals and our entire community.

UWSELA is proud to play a lead role in implementing the Louisiana Prisoner Reentry Initiative in Jefferson and St. Tammany parishes to reduce recidivism and increase public safety by providing wraparound supports for returning individuals. 

A LAPRI case manager works with participants one-on-one, beginning while they are still incarcerated, to develop and implement a comprehensive continuum of care. This plan ensures participants are connected to resources that address their unique needs - including housing, employment, legal services, transportation, and health care – from day one of release.

The results speak for themselves: 89% of clients served from 2019-2022 remained in the community – only 11% recidivated.

Together, LAPRI partners are creating second chances for returning individuals and a stronger, safer community for us all.


Twanda Laurant-Lewis
Program Director, Louisiana Prisoner Reentry Initiative
United Way of Southeast Louisiana