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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Inmates Present Rehabilitation Program They Designed

From Reuters:  "Inmates serving life sentences at a Pennsylvania prison have adopted a unique tactic to promote a program of personal change for fellow convicts and help end a culture of crime that boosts the U.S. prison population.  The program, which goes beyond traditional rehabilitation regimes to "transform" offenders, was presented by the convicts themselves at the maximum-security Graterford prison outside Philadelphia to academics attending the World Congress of Criminology, held this week at the University of Pennsylvania.  Academics hailed the meeting as a unique event in criminology and said the prisoners' program offered a fresh chance to end the cycle of crime that helps fill America's overflowing prisons.  "Never before have distinguished academics agreed to spend the day in prison discussing the causes of crime with inmates," said Susanne Karstedt, program chair of the conference and a professor at Britain's Keele University.  Some 70 inmates in brown prison uniforms welcomed some 150 delegates to the prison, the sixth-largest maximum-security jail in the United States, with 3,425 inmates, 770 of whom are serving life sentences.  The prisoners' group, calling itself LIFERS, has met each Saturday night at Graterford for about the last two years to conduct its "transformation" program with other inmates who have at least the prospect of release.  Inmates who take part in the program are urged to renounce street codes such as revenge, violence and materialism and replace them with what the lifers see as more genuine traits of manhood such as honesty, restraint and responsibility.  The inmates, many of whom have no chance of parole, say attempts by police, academics or social workers to end the culture of street crime and violence in many American cities is doomed to failure because such outsiders have no credibility.  Only those who have lived the street culture have a chance of persuading its members to change their behavior and abandon codes of machismo that often create urban mayhem, they said."  More . . .  [Mark Godsey]

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» Inmates take the lead on rehab from a Public Defender
In some heartening news, lifers in a PA prison are taking the lead on rehabilitation, an ideal that has effectively been long abandoned by the state. These lifers (calling themselves LIFERS), made a presentation of their program to academics from [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 11, 2005 7:33:46 AM

» Inmates take the lead on rehab from a Public Defender
In some heartening news, lifers in a PA prison are taking the lead on rehabilitation. These lifers (calling themselves LIFERS), made a presentation of their program to academics from around the world who were in Philly attending the World Congress [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 11, 2005 7:53:06 AM