Criminal justice officials across the country are struggling to break the recidivism cycle in which prisoners are released only to land right back behind bars. These prisoners are among the most poorly educated people in the country, and that fact holds the key to a solution. Decades of research has shown that inmates who participate in prison education programs—even if they fail to earn degrees—are far more likely to stay out of prison once they are freed.
The Democratic governor has joined with seven other governors on a so-called “Face to Face” initiative, described as a “national call to action encouraging policymakers to personally engage with the people who are closest to the correctional system.” A bipartisan group of governors has committed to participating in the initiative. In addition to Hickenlooper, the group includes governors from Connecticut, North Carolina, Missouri, Utah, Montana, Nevada and Georgia.
Governor Hickenlooper joined some of his colleagues from around the country … in prison Wednesday night. It wasn’t because they committed any crimes. It’s part of an initiative to put lawmakers face-to-face with the people who violate the laws the officials help write and enact.
Gov. Bullock got a tour of the Riverside Correctional Facility before sitting down with staff and residents, to listen to their stories about the program. His visit was part of Face to Face, a national initiative to spotlight the work of correctional programs around the country. Face to Face is sponsored by The Council of State Government’s Justice Center–which helped Montana develop numerous sentencing reforms adopted this year–and several other national correctional groups.
“Governors all across the nation, as we have here in Montana, recognize that we need to make best use of our resources to address an overburdened system and to implement innovative and commonsense solutions to successfully transition offenders back into society,”said Governor Bullock. “Behind the statistics are real people, and by meeting face to face, we can gain a greater understanding of how to turn every potential opportunity into a success story.”
Governor Cooper recently participated in the launch of the Face to Face initiative, a national call to action sponsored by The Council of State Governments encouraging policymakers to personally engage with the people who are closest to the correctional system. Governors from across the country and both sides of the aisle are participating in the national effort.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has jogged with soldiers, done push-ups with state troopers and rolled up hoses with firefighters since becoming governor of Missouri. On Monday, he’ll serve food to prison inmates near Jefferson City.
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval and seven other governors this week will join the Face to Face initiative, a national call to action encouraging policymakers to personally engage with the people who are closest to the correctional system. The criminal justice initiative will launch with a wave of public activities featuring both Republican and Democratic elected officials meeting with people affected by the correctional system in their respective states.
With the help of a U.S. Justice Department grant, the CSG Justice Center is arranging for governors and other top officials in states, where most criminal justice policy originates, to meet with inmates, correctional staff members and crime victims.
“Housing and support services cost less than we are spending now on police, courts, jails and hospitals to manage homelessness,” Step Up Executive Director Tod Lipka said.