New Program in Plainfield Aims to Keep Inmates from Returning

PLAINFIELD, Ind. (WOWO):  The Indiana prison system is starting a new program for some first-time inmates with the goal of helping them not return to prison.
Governor Mike Pence joined prison officials Thursday at the state's prison in Plainfield for short-term inmates to announce the program.

“Indiana should be the worst place in America to commit a crime and the best place for a second chance,” said Governor Pence. “The First Time Offender Program is a great step in the right direction to make this goal a reality by giving first-time offenders an opportunity to make a real difference in their lives and reducing the chance they will return to prison a second time.”

Officials say it will provide recovery services, social support, and education and employment opportunities. Pence says he wants to reduce Indiana's rate of nearly 36 percent of ex-inmates returning to prison within three years.

Prisons Commissioner Bruce Lemmon said the program will be the country's only one for first-time offenders to use character and faith-based programming.

“For some of these individuals, this is their last chance to turn their life around or face more time in prison,” said  Lemmon.  “By providing a structured environment focused on instilling family values and strong work ethic, we hope to break the cycle of crime.”

Lower risk inmates with sentences of three years or less will be eligible for the program, with 88 men in the first group.