Colorado Jail Focuses on Re-Entry

October 18 2005, 12:54 PM

The Colorado Department of Corrections is definitely onto something. Realizing that most prisoners will be released one day, it has created a jail facility that focuses on training inmates to be prepared for their re-entry.

...the most intensive re-entry facility in state history operates as a specialized way station for inmates now garbed in green scrubs but about to become someone's next door neighbor. An intense schedule of classes, softer architecture and more civilized language aim to change inmates' lives, reduce recidivism and make streets safer.

Studies show that released inmates are less likely to re-offend if they have undergone re-entry programs. In Colorado, that could have a significant impact.

This year, the state will move about 8,000 inmates back into the community, but recidivism has been running at about 50 percent, which means that about half could be back behind bars within three years. The state spends an average of $30,000 a year to incarcerate a prisoner.

Even small changes can have an impact on a prisoner's attitude. As one of them told the Rocky,

"The fact that they call you a resident rather than an inmate makes you start to think you're a person,"

The inmates' days and evenings are filled with classes and programs. There even is an 8:00 a.m. news class. I highly recommend reading the entire article. It's really quite inspirational.

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