Early next year, three Colorado prison lifers will be used to launch the Lifeline program, which seeks to prepare long-term, parole-eligible inmates for successful transition into the community. Lifeline is modeled after a Canadian effort that, for the past 15 years, has gained praise in the corrections industry for turning prison lifers into productive citizens, reports the Denver Post. This will be its first use in the U.S.
The program partners the prisoners with former lifers who have found success. Originally scheduled to begin with six inmates this fall, Lifeline ran into trouble after its public unveiling in August, when objections from victims’ families, investigators and a neighborhood group prompted an overhaul. As a result, the ex-cons face a more closely guarded path toward life outside prison walls. Lifeline candidates must be at least 45 with at least 20 years served, be parole eligible and have a record of good conduct in the DOC system. The program doesn’t accept sex offenders.