Stop the Revolving Door - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Stop the Revolving Door

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November 1, 2006

Albany - The numbers of inmates released from Georgia prisons has increased 150% in the last 30 years. That means more people are getting locked up, and unfortunately, many are there more than once. But one group is working to cut down the rate of repeat offenders.

Lock 'em up and put 'em away. Time in jail or prison should teach criminals how not to act when they get out, right? Not always. Congressman Sanford Bishop says, "People are not prepared for the reentry process." Not prepared to perform in society, and can't get jobs, so they go back to a life of crime.

Sheriff Saba says, "This is what it's going to take, if you don't, we are going to continue doing what we're doing now, Just a revolving door."

So how can you keep the door closed and the number of re-offenders down? Give them knowledge and job skills. Joyce Jordan says, "We want to do whatever it takes.  That's what we want to do."

That's the whole focus of Albany Dougherty Restorative Justice Program. Taking people that have been or are going through the criminal justice program, and keeping them from going through it again. Jordan says rather than inmates sitting in a cell doing nothing, they can learn to read or get a GED.

Congressman Sanford Bishop delivered a $25,000 check to help start up the program. Think that's a lot of money?

Sheriff Saba says, "If they cause another crime, it costs more money to go through the courts than it would what we're trying to teach them."

Bishop says, "We have so many neglected human resources.  They are too often neglected."

But by acknowledging each person's ability, instead of his history, may make for a better society for us all.

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