Over 6,000,000 Americans are [behind bars or under some sort of court ordered supervision] (Business Insider) and the United States is the world-leader at imprisoning it’s own people. The land of the free is not so free for countless families across the nation. Dysfunction spreads from one generation to the next, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that over one-quarter of American children grow up in a single parent home, and the “rehabilitation” system that taxpayers shell out $63.4 billion a year to fund is a revolving-door for over 60% of those who enter (CBS.com).
In a 2011 Pew Survey, Minnesota Commissioner of Corrections Tom Roy explained;
Catching the [criminal] and prosecuting [them] is really important work, but if we don’t do anything with that individual after we’ve got [them], then shame on us. If all that effort goes to waste and we just open the doors five years later, and it’s the same [individual] walking out the door and the same criminal thinking, we’ve failed in our mission.
An innovative program at a local Colorado community college is drastically reducing recidivism and now they have the numbers to prove it.
The Gateway program at Red Rocks Community College (RRCC) in Lakewood, CO is a shining example of the drastic changes needed to substantially reduce recidivism in the nation. All students in the Gateway program were incarcerated at the time they applied to the program, many inmates-turned-student earn early release by entering the program, but their continued freedom is only guaranteed by their success in college and society. To round things out, Cathy Lachman, director of the Gateway program at Red Rocks, is no “push-over” when it comes to enforcing the program’s rules. Gateway is Lachman’s “baby” after-all...
Recently, W. Neil Gowensmith, Ph.D., completed a study of the RRCC Gateway program for the University of Denver. Gowensmith found that 90% of program graduates experience a 90% improvement in their self-esteem and quality of life, 40% of participants see an improvement in the quality of family relationships, and 45% of Gateway grads experience a radical drop in substance abuse. In addition, 85% of Gateway graduates have had no new arrests, charges, or technical violations, 50% are free and clear of all legal obligations, and 65% of Gateway ex-offenders still remain enrolled in higher education.
The director of the RRCC program wants to take Gateway nationwide, she hopes to gain the support of Community Colleges from coast-to-coast, and Lachman’s vision is clearly revolutionary. To change America for the better, the nation must change from within, and educating the people is the first step.
For the most part, Gateway graduates go on to pursue bachelors and graduate degrees, stay free of drugs and substance abuse problems, and they avoid criminal activity or additional complications with the law. The students return to their respective communities with a plan to enact positive change; most of all... Gateway graduates stop the cycle of dysfunction and recidivism within their own family for the first time in generations.
A program that produces results like Gateway is changing lives, generations of families, and even entire communities. America imprisons more of its own citizens than any other nation in the world-community, the Gateway program is proof that innovative ideas produce innovative results, and the future is wide open for students in the program.
More About the Gateway Program
More About Red Rocks Community College
Since 1969 Red Rocks Community College has delivered quality education to students of all ages and backgrounds. RRCC offers more than 300 programs leading to two-year degrees or professional certificates and serves over 15,000 students per year online and at campus locations in Lakewood and Arvada. For more information, please visit www.rrcc.edu.
More About Scars (Pictured in Slideshow)
Scars is a theatrical representation of the true stories of Gateway program students. The play is running until the end of the month, for dates and times please visit http://www.rrcc.edu/news/2013/021813.htm.