The Catholic Commentator  

Nickolos Marchiafava was recently granted his freedom by the Department of Corrections but human error landed him back behind bars.   

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Nickolos Marchiafava and Angela St. Romain talk about king cake orders at the bakery in Baton Rouge where Marchiafava is doing his work release program to complete a prison sentence. Marchiafava was released for 46 days before corrections officials realized he still had five months left on his sentence. His new release date is April 22, 2018. Photo by Bonny Van | The Catholic Commentator 

 

Now, Nicks’ stepmother prays he finds freedom through faith.  

“My prayer for you (Nickolos) right now is that after all of this, you’ll be able to see the good and God can lead you to do good to help others,” said Angela St. Romain, a parishioner of St. Thomas More Church in Baton Rouge.  

After serving nine of the past 12 years on a variety of charges, Marchiafava was released Dec. 6. But 47 days later he was once again wearing the title of inmate after the DOC determined he had not served all of his time. Marchiafava’s release date, according to DOC, was five months later. 

“I haven’t thought about it yet. It’s a blow, it’s a blow,” said Marchiafava, on break from his job at a local bakery. Every night, he must to report back to the West Baton Rouge Detention Center.  

The weight of the situation remains heavy on his mind. Marchiafava began his journey after his release Dec. 6, living on the streets of Baton Rouge. He spent his days looking for work. A tip led him to St. Vincent de Paul.  

Marchiafava stayed at the St. Vincent de Paul overnight shelter and landed a job after stopping by to visit St. Romain at her job as manager of a Baton Rouge area bakery. On Christmas Day, he moved into the Catholic Charities’ Joseph Homes, a temporary shelter for ex-offenders.  

Marchiafava was trying to get food stamps, which are supposed to be expedited for newly released prisoners under Louisiana’s new prison reform laws. That’s where he was Jan. 19 when he learned police officers went to Joseph Homes looking for him.  

Officials had contacted St. Romain to let her know that Marchiafava still had time to serve and should not have been released until May. After a weekend filled with anxiety, Marchiafava turned himself in on Monday, Jan. 22.  

“It was a human error that we regret,” said Ken Pastorek, communications director of the Department of Corrections.  

“We’re doing everything we can to help him out in this situation. He was living up to the conditions of his early release and he was doing well with his parole and probation. Unfortunately, it was a human error that caused this.”  

Marchiafava, who is a skilled automotive paint technician, will continue to work at the bakery as part of his work release program, which he said takes 64 percent of his gross pay. And, he’ll report to the West Baton Rouge Detention Center until April 22, 2018. 

He plans to save up for a vehicle so he can get back to work in his former profession.  

Linda Fjeldsjo, Coordinator of Prison Ministry and Joseph Homes for Catholic Charities, said calculating release times can be very difficult because it includes credit for good time and educational credits. “It’s very confusing, she said. “But what really spoke to my heart was that Nickolos was going to do the right thing. Easily, he could have just walked away and not deal with it but he didn’t do that.”