Pew Colorado Effort Prepares Long-Term Inmates for Release


Colorado has begun a program that prepares long-term, once-violent inmates for their release, reports Miller-McCune magazine. It is designed for inmates 45 and older who have been imprisoned for at least 15 years, including offenders with parole-eligible life sentences (excluding sex offenders and arsonists). It provides a transitional reintegration for selected prisoners who have behaved well, acknowledged their crimes, and shown remorse.

Modeled after a successful Canadian program created for lifers, the Long-Term Offender Program pairs inmates with mentors — former convicts who know firsthand what it's like to walk out of prison after decades inside. The Colorado prison system is at 116 percent capacity with 14,835 inmates — roughly 2,000 more than it was designed for.”I don't really know of any other place in the country that is focusing on lifers and long-term incarcerated offenders,” says David Altschuler of Johns Hopkins University, who has studied alternative sentencing and reentry programs for nearly 25 years, and who helped design the Long-Term Offender Program curriculum.

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