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NCJ Number: 205777 Find in a Library
Title: Prepared to Reenter Society?
Journal: Law and Order  Volume:52  Issue:5  Dated:May 2004  Pages:90-92,94,95
Author(s): Pat Nolan
Date Published: May 2004
Page Count: 5
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article describes the features and presents the evaluation findings of the InnerChange Freedom Initiative (IFI), a values-based corrections program introduced in Texas in 1997 and replicated in Kansas, Iowa, and Minnesota.
Abstract: IFI is a partnership between the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Prison Fellowship for the purpose of reducing recidivism, particularly among ex-inmates. In the IFI, offenders are exposed daily to values-based teachings grounded in a biblical perspective. They are also required to work and improve their education. The second half of the program involves 6 months of community service outside the prison. While in prison, participants are paired with a mentor from a local church, who works with them to fulfill their responsibilities to their spouses, children, and employers. The program continues after the inmate is released. This consists of guidance by a mentor, along with support from a local church. Participation is voluntary, and there is no time off or other incentives to participate. An evaluation study entitled, "The InnerChange Freedom Initiative, a Preliminary Evaluation of a Faith-Based Program," followed IFI graduates for 2 years after their release from prison and compared their recidivism rate with that of offenders with similar backgrounds and offenses who had not participated in IFI. The evaluation found that IFI graduates were 50 percent less likely to be rearrested. In Texas, the 2-year postrelease rearrest rate was 17.3 percent for IFI participants. IFI graduates were 60 percent less likely to be reincarcerated than members of the control group. The evaluation emphasized that mentors were critical to the impressive results of the program. Five themes associated with successful rehabilitation were the offender's willingness to condemn previous behavior; recognition that life is a "work in progress" and that spiritual growth is a life-long process; replacing the values of prison society with something more worthwhile; development of a sense of hope and purpose; and sensing the need to give back to society.
Main Term(s): Corrections effectiveness
Index Term(s): Mentoring programs; Post-release programs; Prerelease programs; Recidivism; Rehabilitation; Religion; Religious programs; Texas; Treatment effectiveness; Treatment techniques
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