We’re working to match up veterans (or active duty) on the outside, with veterans on the inside. This comes from Zion, a veteran serving time in a California prison.
I am a US Navy veteran and would like to see a program specifically geared towards ex-servicemen that would place us in a separate environment from mainline incorrigibles that would focus on rehabilitation, avoiding prison mentalities and re-entry preparation. Service people have a life-long fraternity, an unbreakable bond that aids in encouragement to change. Many county jail programs are now offered for vets. I think it would really go a very long way in helping those of us in the state penitentiary.
Most of the programs in my prison are inmate-run, thus the quality is generally nil. Programs facilitated by free-staff and experts from the outside provide much better curriculum and offer greater hope.
College programs at the Bachelor’s or Graduate level would be of greatest help in making this time productive. Not every inmate fits into a “vocational training” category. Higher education would increase my chance of staying out of prison, guaranteed!
Lastly, but of incredible importance would be the ending of forced segregation in state prisons. Housing white inmates only with other whites, blacks only with blacks, etc., is a terrible holdover from bygone days that only serves to make divisions deeper, prison more dangerous, and re-adjustment to the real world that much more difficult. It effectively stifles the social development of every inmate subjected to it. INTEGRATE NOW!