Inmate To Kids: Do What It Takes To Stay Out Of Prison


Federal prisoners told 60 young people in New Jersey how they ended up behind bars and what it’s really like there, reports the Press of Atlantic City. Inmates from Fairton Federal Correctional Institution took part in a program called ROPE, Reaching Out to Provide Enlightenment. “The prisoners actually decided they wanted to reach out and help kids stay out of trouble before they ended up in prison,” said counselor Mike Coard. “They run the whole show themselves. It’s pretty powerful when you have prisoners telling kids face to face what it’s really like in prison, not what they see on TV.”

The program has been presented at schools and to youth organizations all over New Jersey. The director of the center where the program was presented said that “ROPE isn’t like the Scared Straight programs, where kids actually go into the prison. These prisoners just tell the kids their personal stories. They give it to them straight.” Said one inmate: “It doesn’t matter if you live in a dog house or a mansion – the feds don’t care. It doesn’t matter if you’re a nobody or Martha Stewart – the feds don’t care. You kids need to do anything it takes to not go to jail. I don’t care if you haul trash, play basketball every day, whatever it takes to avoid being in a gang or selling drugs, you do it.”


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