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New diversion agreement between Delta and Ouachita DA office

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MONROE, La. (KNOE 8 News) - A new partnership in Ouachita Parish aims to help people choose education over jail. Andres Enriquez says earning a GED changed his life, he moved from Mexico with little education and opportunity. But after getting his GED and later a college degree, he says the difference in his quality of life is night and day.

Enriquez now believes firmly, education is the key to the American Dream. "If someone wants to be treated equally they have to get an education," said Andres Enriquez.

Now working as a coordinator with Delta Community College, he helps others further their education and soon thanks to a new partnership, he may help non-violent offenders get their GED instead of going to jail.

"It's much easer for someone to get training get jobs and be a tax payer other than a tax user, it's common sense is what it is," said Ouachita Parish District Attorney Jerry Jones. The Ouachita Parish districts attorneys office signed an agreement with Delta Community College to create a GED and work ready diversion program.

It allows participants who finish the program to get their criminal record expunged. "I think you'd be hard pressed, when people are really pressed to say people shouldn't be given a second chance about things," said acting Chancellor of Delta Community College, Dr. Jerry Ryan.

The DA's office has the discretion to decide which offenders get to participate, in a program that Enriquez says a true shot at success. Lincoln and Union Parishes have also signed up for the program.


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