Will Louisiana Let Inmates Teach in Our Schools?
A new program called Mister Coffee Bean aims to put rehabilitated inmates in classrooms to teach students.
This pilot program was given the thumbs up by the State Corrections Department for implementation in Louisiana. But that approval drew a loud cry from Sheriffs all around the state. Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator says "we can do better than this for our young children." He strongly objected to the program and urged the state to back off of the plan to put it in place.
The goal of the Coffee Bean program is to let certain non-violent inmates earn a bachelor’s degree while in prison and become elementary school teachers and mentors for at-risk youth once they get out of prison.
Who Qualifies to Take Part in the Coffee Bean Program?
The Coffee Bean website says they search for “currently incarcerated, Black men, with non-violent, non-aggravated, low-level offenses, with the aptitude to test into college, who also do not have a lot of time left on their sentences.” Selected inmates are moved into a single prison to earn their bachelor’s degrees in elementary education and be mentored in a Living Learning Community.
But Corrections Secretary James LeBlanc apparently had a change of heart and now says Louisiana will not put this program in place.
Once the inmates earn their elementary education degrees, and passing their teacher certification exams, they will be paroled and placed as teachers in the most at-risk elementary schools in their states to serve as teachers and role models.