By Dan Copp, The Courier 

Terrell Joseph has big plans when he gets released from the Lafourche Parish jail.

“I feel that I’m being given a second chance,” the 28-year-old from Raceland said while taking a break from his welding class Saturday. “They’re giving me a real chance to go back into society. I’ve been taking different classes and my credits go toward Nicholls. So when I get out I can go to Nicholls. With this class I’m getting qualifications so that it gives me a better chance to beat the odds.”

Joseph is one of 21 Lafourche inmates who are participating in a new partnership between the Sheriff’s Office and Fletcher Technical Community College to offer industrial certification classes to people who are incarcerated.

The program, which is being provided by a grant from Goodwill Industries of Southern Louisiana, offers classes for welding, forklift and automotive certifications. Inmates will also be offered other classes and certifications in the future including computer training, officials said.

“This is another outstanding partnership to further our mission and vision of the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex,” said Sheriff Craig Webre. “We are continuing to find new, innovative ways to reduce recidivism. This program will provide the opportunity for individuals to better themselves while incarcerated in order to be ready for a productive return to society upon their release.”

Fletcher Chancellor Kristine Strickland said the program will help give inmates valuable job skills and reduce repeat offenders.