"The purpose of the program is to provide formerly incarcerated persons with an opportunity to build a trust account with society by performing civic justice projects in the community," said Whalen Gibbs, assistant secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections and chairman of the New Orleans Civic Justice Task Force.
"They could be serving food at a local homeless shelter or diner or meals to the shut-ins, as well as gutting and rebuilding homes for the handicapped and elderly.
"A crucial part of the program is also to get them linked to services in the community that are often obstacles to re-entry, such as housing, transportation and reuniting with family.
It's just basically building that system of support that is often not there when they return to the community."
Participants receive free health care benefits and a $11,667 living stipend during the program as well as a $4,750 education stipend upon completion of the program, Gibbs said.