C’EST BON
The 15th Judicial District’s Drug Court program works, and now there’s a long-term study to prove it. Headquartered in Lafayette, the program is funded in large part through the Louisiana Supreme Court, which commissioned an analysis that finds that graduates of Drug Court — a diversion program that offers first-offense, non-violent drug offenders an opportunity to enter a yearlong system of drug treatment, supervision, education and random drug testing and to have the arrest expunged from their record — are more likely to kick the habit and stay out of trouble. The study’s findings are stark. Among them: Drug Court graduates are six times less likely to be rearrested within six months of completion of the program than are offenders eligible for the program who opt instead to accept probation. Drug Court graduates are also far less likely to be arrested a year later than are eligible candidates who don’t enter the program.

PAS BON
The avaricious among us never met a disaster they didn’t see as an opportunity for fraud, and the BP oil spill is bringing the shysters out of the woodwork. In just a matter of a few days last week, the state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries arrested three commercial fishermen — two of them Iberia Parish men who conspired together; the third is from Chauvin — of falsifying documents showing earnings prior to the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill. These so-called “trip tickets” are used by BP to establish an earnings average for out-of-work fishermen, who are then reimbursed for their lost wages. Each faces felony charges. With the recent announcement that beginning in September rig workers impacted by the moratorium can apply for financial assistance grants ranging from $3,000 to $30,000 — part of a $100 million fund BP established to bankroll the program — expect the fraud to continue. BP isn’t exactly a sympathetic victim here, but come on.

20100811-pooyie-0102COUILLON
It’s not so much “ethics reform” as it is “ethics, re-formed.” Gov. Bobby Jindal proves time and again that while he may still be a fresh face in politics, he can be plenty old-school in his style in governance. Last week LSU System President  John Lombardi named Lafayette’s Elaine Abell chairman of the governing board for the planned teaching hospital in New Orleans. Lombardi is supposed to be the sole authority in such decisions. The LSU System released a statement announcing Abell’s appointment. So far so good. But the next day, in a tersely worded press release that wasn’t even issued on LSU System letterhead, it was announced that, woops, Abell wouldn’t be board chairman after all; that honor would go to Bobby Yarborough. Bobby Yarborough is Jindal’s campaign treasurer. Jindal’s ethics reformation: Do as I say, not as I do.

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