Our Programs


Residential and non-residential clients of The First 72+ come to us from referrals by the Parole Board, local attorneys, legal organizations, state and federal courts, family members of incarcerated people, and direct inquiries from currently incarcerated people and people recently released. Potential clients who are not currently incarcerated are also free to walk through our doors and do an intake to receive services.​

During the first three days we support clients with clothes, food, accessing vital records, enrollment in public benefits, visits with parole/probation, and healthcare (through the FIT Clinic).​

We are currently working on expanding our transitional housing services to two houses with around fifteen available beds.  Even if we are not able to house someone, we are able to provide ongoing case management, peer-mentorship, reentry legal services, and support with small business development.

Transitional Housing

In September of 2014 the co-founders of The First 72+ converted an old bail bonds office into a free transitional house for  formerly incarcerated men. Residents in our transitional housing program are able to live rent-free for up to 90 days, while receiving access to supportive wrap around services designed to help them achieve independence and self-sustainability.

After undergoing a holistic needs assessment our residents are provided meals, groceries, and clothing, as well as access to wifi and use of a tablet so that they may communicate easily - and safely - with case managers, counselors, and (where necessary) participate in out-patient substance abuse treatment. ​

Upon completion of the program all clients/residents are considered alumni, and like the founders, are expected to remain involved and to “pay it forward” for the next person in-need.

Ben Smith Welcome Home Center

Technology Life Skills

As a part of our commitment to provide all the resources and tools needed to transition back into society, we have recently started to provide Technology Life Skills Classes to our clients, ensuring that they have the basic digital skills needed to navigate through society. When COVID-19 struck, it showed us how basic digital literacy is necessary to participate fully in society, and simply to survive during the critical period of re-entry. For many of our clients, technology access and literacy is a huge hurdle upon their release-- there is limited access to technology in prison, and technology is needed to access vital support services and resources. Our Technology Life Skills program offers one on one lessons for clients and group classes for our staff members.

It is clear that providing this foundational technology literacy support is essential for people returning home from prison, and we look forward to being able to make bridging the digital divide a more central part of our work moving forward.

Topics covered by our Technology Life Skills program include:

  • Device Specific Training
  • Resume Building
  • Email
  • Microsoft Office
  • Mobile Applications
  • Windows Operating System Basics

Case Management

Our team of case managers and reentry coaches assist clients with achieving self-sufficiency. Our coaches are all formerly incarcerated, many are still "on paper" (parole/probation), and they have all personally navigated the many barriers someone faces when they come home. Now they assist others with this same journey.

Together, our team assists clients with connecting to education, employment, healthcare, technology life skills education, public benefits, and long term housing. Through local partners, we connect clients to mental and physical health care, and support with managing substance abuse. We also engage clients in regular social events and promote community/civic engagement.

Reentry Legal Services

When someone is released from prison they often come home to numerous outstanding legal issues that impede their ability to rejoin the workforce, access housing, and access public benefits. In our Reentry Legal Services Clinic we provide representation to assist with a variety of issues, including, getting their driver's license reinstated, resolving municipal attachments and "ghost warrants" that pre-date their incarceration, addressing probation/parole holds, accessing professional licenses, and applying for food stamps and disability.

​We also co-host free drop-in Reentry Legal Clinics with the Justice and Accountability Center and Southeast Louisiana Legal Services. The details and schedule can be found here.​

We are also a member of The Building Bridges Committee hosted by The Louisiana State Bar Association. Together we work with state and city agencies to address administrative policies that impede formerly incarcerated people. We also host Continuing Legal Education (CLE) courses, training and recruiting pro-bono attorney's to assist clients.

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Our Reentry Legal Clinic helped Shawan clear 8 municipal attachments, get $600 in contempt fees waived, and get her driver's license reinstated.

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Our Reentry Legal Clinic helped AJ resolve a nearly 8 year old "ghost warrant" that was left in the system in error, and had led to his rearrest numerous times.

Economic Empowerment

The Fountain Fund Low-Interest Loan

We're excited to be partnering with The Fountain Fund to provide low-interest loans and financial literacy education to our clients. Now, formerly incarcerated people who have been experiencing financial barriers to starting a business, paying off debts, or enrolling in continuing education, for example, can receive some assistance through this program. Predatory loan programs or lack of financial literacy have historically left returning citizens open to exploitation, so we are looking forward to fostering financial health in our community, by us and for us. For more information on this program, please see this FAQ, or contact our Economic Empowerment Coordinator Meagan Jordan at 504-252-7885 or meagan@first72plus.org.

Apply for a Loan!

Wrongful Conviction Project

Louisiana has the highest rate of wrongful convictions in the country - The city of New Orleans the biggest contributor. Thanks to the tireless work of Innocence Project New Orleans over 30 people have been freed in Louisiana and Mississippi. To date, at least 1,625 people have been released from prison following a wrongful conviction. Unfortunately, not all wrongfully convicted people are released to communities with reentry support services.

In 2015 Doug Dilosa joined our team to assist those recently released from wrongful conviction with getting back on their feet, and preparing for a successful and independent future. Doug sought to provide the support services he needed when he was released, but were tragically unavailable.

Today, our wrongful conviction project assists dozens of clients both in New Orleans and across the United States. We specifically seek to support those who are released to communities that lack local reentry support services. Through financial support, case management, budget planning, connections to local resources, and regular check ins and peer support, our wrongful conviction project is working to ensure that all people released from prison, especially those who ended up in prison due to egregious miscarriages of justice are able to grow and thrive.

9 Steps to Staying Free Class

A series of 9 classes covering a variety of topics relating to interpersonal relationships and emotional wellbeing with Pastor Tyrone, led by him and various staff members. These classes happen weekly on Wednesday at 11:00am, before we take those who need to get their IDs. Lunch is also provided. If someone is interested, text the client's name and phone number to Pastor Tyrone at 504-782-3616 and he will reach out to them with more details.