BRAD ROBICHAUX — Second Chance Program is worthwhile effort

Published 12:09 am Tuesday, September 10, 2019

What is the best way to correct past mistakes?

Sometimes the damage can’t be easily undone, if at all. But some mistakes don’t always have to be a lasting mark on an otherwise clean record.

That’s the idea behind Jefferson County’s Second Chance Program. The program allows some individuals with criminal histories the opportunities to have those histories cleared, provided they meet the qualifications.

With a clear record, these individuals would have one less obstacle in their way to finding gainful employment.

Jefferson County District Attorney Bob Wortham said in a weekend story in The Port Arthur News that there are quite a few people in the county who qualify for the program, and he encourages them to apply.

Was your criminal charge dismissed? Did you receive deferred probation, found not guilty or in a diversion program? Have you been charged with a DWI but otherwise had no other criminal history? Give the program a try.

“We try to be very fair to citizens in the county and give them an opportunity after they’ve made a mistake,” Wortham said. “We’re not a statistical driven group. We want to help people help themselves.”

The program is organized by the Jefferson County Bar Association, which works with several other county law enforcement offices, as well as local industries looking for willing workers to fill a growing job market.

This sounds like a recipe for success. Folks who’ve had run-ins with the law could find it easier to get a job, and a steady paycheck could do wonders for those who need to make ends meet and want to stay on the right side of the law.

Those workers would be paying taxes with those paychecks, adding to city coffers with every purchase they make. They’ll contribute to our area’s economic growth by working for our industries or businesses, and, most important of all, they’ll be able to get their lives back on track towards prosperity.

This sounds like the best way to correct past mistakes.

It’s not always easy to forgive and forget. It is, unfortunately, quite easy to dismiss an otherwise upstanding person for past troubles or to overlook an otherwise qualified job candidate if they have a criminal record.

Proper justice means trusting the system produces the most lawful, fair outcome, and that those who go through it either find themselves exonerated or pay their debt to society.

If that debt is paid, is it right to continue to hold it against them?

Wouldn’t it be better to let these folks contribute to the community again?

We don’t have to let mistakes of the past stop good people from finding success in their futures.

Go to SecondChanceSETX.com for an application and for more information on the program.

Brad Robichaux is a reporter for The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at brad.robichaux@panews.com.