A petite retired schoolteacher worked the Colorado Correctional Center gym last Friday like it was her classroom, moving from burglar to forger to wife beater, flashing a smile and offering words of encouragement, says the Denver Post. “This is my next profession,” Rosemary LaPorta said. “I want to help these men realize that we really care. They are not scum of the earth, and they are not worthless.”
LaPorta spoke with inmates as part of a Christian outreach program called Operation Starting Line. Also involved are Miss America 2003 Erica Harold and Marvis Frazier, the son of boxing icon Joe Frazier. “Not since Alice’s trip to Wonderland has a more eclectic group convened,” said Michelle Farmer of Operation Starting Line. Its goal is to reduce inmate recidivism rates, which are 67 percent nationally and 55 percent in Colorado. About 500 Operation Starting Line volunteers from 86 churches will sweep across Colorado, putting on similar programs at 38 jails and prisons.