Archive for Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback pushes faith mentors for state prison inmates

June 21, 2011, 10:00 a.m. Updated June 21, 2011, 6:45 p.m.


— Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday announced an expansion of his faith-based initiative, saying that he wants to match state prisoners with faith-based mentors.

Brownback has already given the green light to a new faith-based division in the state’s welfare agency.

Now, the Kansas Department of Corrections is ready to roll out Mentoring 4 Success, he said.

The state prison system will work with Prison Fellowship Ministries, Reaching Out From Within and the ecumenical Spiritual Advisors to help inmates succeed when they are released from prison, he said.

“I know firsthand, as we all do, the importance and the power that a mentor has in our lives,” Brownback said.

Brownback’s Corrections Secretary Ray Roberts said of the 5,000 inmates released from the Kansas prison system last year, approximately 1,100 came back to prison for violations.

The goal is to reduce that number, Roberts said.

He said the prison system has been working since March on developing a plan of action to launch the initiative and recruit mentors, who will work on a voluntary basis.

The state will be divided into six regions and each region will have a lead mentoring organization.

“We are looking for good, solid people interested in making a difference in the lives of others,” Roberts said.

He said he has a lot of interest from religious groups and community organizations.

Roberts said the state will not be pushing any religion and will not be assigning mentors based on religion.

The funding for the initiatives will be within existing agency revenues, he said.


guesswho 6 years, 10 months ago

Which faiths can apply? Muslim? Wiccan? Mormon? FSM? Pagan? Baptist? Catholic? 7th Day Adventist? Hindu? Jehovah's Witness? Zoroastrianism? Falun Gong? Scientology?

dsplawrence 6 years, 10 months ago

the shaolin and the wu tang could be dangerous!

Brock Masters 6 years, 10 months ago

The idea of making a mentor available to inmates is a good one, but the idea of a faith-based mentor is a bad one.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 10 months ago

What is the alternative, plumbers? Insurance salespeople? Video Gamers?

notanota 6 years, 10 months ago

Teachers, counselors, lawyers, and job coaches.

Deb Stavin 6 years, 10 months ago

I think a good alternative would be former inmates who have made a successful transition to a life free of criminal activity. They are much more likely to have practical, experience-based advice for someone with a criminal record who is applying for jobs, finding housing, etc.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 10 months ago

You want to keep people out of prison? Stop the 40 years of failure that is the war on drugs. Pretty simple, really. Prohibition never works. Never has, never will.

Randall Uhrich 6 years, 10 months ago

The Church of the Invisible flying spaghetti monster? It's a legitimate religion too (Pastafarianism).

Abbefaria 6 years, 10 months ago

May you be touched by his noodly appendage!

mom_of_three 6 years, 10 months ago

mentors would be good, but why would he assume "faith based" ones would be any better than a non faith based mentor? Like religion would keep them out of prison?

notanota 6 years, 10 months ago

Religious people never do any crimes. Just ask Jim Bakker.

deec 6 years, 10 months ago

This might be a good gig for all those defrocked clergymen who preyed on children.

notanota 6 years, 10 months ago

I was avoiding going there, but it did seem a rather obvious destination.

guesswho 6 years, 10 months ago

"In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies"

maybe we need secular mentors and leaders.....

Bob Forer 6 years, 10 months ago

I didn't click on the link provided but your suggestions don't surprise me. After all, the basic premise of Christianity is that you can sin all you want but still end up in heaven as long as you accept Jesus as your savior. While it may appear counterintuitive, Christian dogma probably encourages rather discourages human "bad acts" because with "faith" comes "salavation," regardless of action.

verity 6 years, 10 months ago

"Gov. Sam Brownback says he wants to match every inmate leaving state prisons with a faith-based mentor. . . . But the governor acknowledged that the state probably would not have much money for prison mentor programs."

I thought NGO charities could take care of all the less fortunate in our society. Why can't they take care of this?

I don't want any of my tax dollars being used to cram religion of any kind down anybody's throat.

I agree with dstavin's comment at 10:50. Better someone who has been there than someone who thinks you can pray away the problems.

mscynners 6 years, 10 months ago

Why doesn't he match inmates leaving state prisons and a faith-based mentor to serve every individual who will no longer have funds to pay for needed assistance etc. Give the released individuals a challenge to give back to society and prove what they have figured a thing or two out.

guess_again 6 years, 10 months ago

How about providing funding for a real system of probation officers?

Caseloads are a joke. And the ex-cons know it.

If you funded caseloads at a level that providing initial intensive supervision and support, you might make a difference. Hooking them up with faith-based contacts could be part of it. But praying on their knees without this basic level of supervision support is also a joke, and is nothing more than pandering to a certain part of the populace.

The state is a long ways away from funding the kind of initial intensive supervision which many experts in the field believe are best minimum practices.

DrRobert 6 years, 10 months ago

"Faith Based" - Question: waht is 1 + 1 = ? "5 ! " Reply the reds. That is a faith based answer. We use to just call that stupid.

moxibustion 6 years, 10 months ago

We aren't in Kansas anymore, Toto. We are in the state and church of Brownback now.

goodcountrypeople 6 years, 10 months ago

To me pushing faith mentors shows questionably good faith and a lack of respect for diverse religious beliefs and codes of moral conduct. It's wrong for the government to impose something that.

Terry Sexton 6 years, 10 months ago

When is Sammy's term done & who do the Dems have that can offer a serious challenge next go around? I don't have much faith based in that happening.

Jan Rolls 6 years, 10 months ago

This guy has gone from just stupid to ridiculous

somedude20 6 years, 10 months ago

Maybe ole Brownhack should have successful criminals (you know, the ones who did not get caught) mentor these failures of crime so that they will not get caught next time (odds are there will be a number of next times) so that the tax payer does not have to spring for their room and board again and again and again

dik i dik i

Jan Rolls 6 years, 10 months ago

So now convicts are more important than finding jobs for People especially since we are all looking for the first job you have created. Where is that job sam outside of the ones you created for your buddies?

overthemoon 6 years, 10 months ago

Gees. Maybe focusing on Jobs and Education would be a good way to keep people out of prison in the first place? Just a thought. But the other shoe to drop in this discussion will be his big plan to privatize the prisons...and then there is no incentive to reduce the prison population when its makin' somebody money.

Scott Morgan 6 years, 10 months ago

In actuality Kansas only has a 6.6 unemployment figure and ranks very high in public education. But, if it's just ripping Brownback so it be.

deec 6 years, 10 months ago

"Most reports place Kansas among the top 20 states on measures related to K-12 education. Education Week gave Kansas a C based on concerns that the state is not doing enough to ensure that young people are prepared for success in college and the workforce. Kansas generally ranks at or below average on postsecondary education measures." Most reports place Kansas among the top 20 states on measures related to K-12 education. Education Week gave Kansas a C based on concerns that the state is not doing enough to ensure that young people are prepared for success in college and the workforce. Kansas generally ranks at or below average on postsecondary education measures

Bob Forer 6 years, 10 months ago

A bunch of naive Christian do-gooders are about to get conned. As a former public defender, I can assure you that 99% of the inmates who "find god" while incarcerated are unmitigated charlatans.

notanota 6 years, 10 months ago

It's classic sociopathic behavior. I'm not saying that people of faith are all sociopaths or that all prisoners are. I'm just saying that prison conversion is consistent with sociopathic behavior, and the rate of sociopathy is higher in prisoners than it is in the general population.

newmath 6 years, 10 months ago

And I suppose he expects to get this all for free? What if the person doesn't want a faith based mentor, but a REAL social worker?

notsobright 6 years, 10 months ago

First- they can pick and reject as they want.

Second- I am sure most inmates want advise/mentoring from that 24 year old with that wonderful college degree in sociology; instead of a 65 year old man who was in prison for 2 years in the 70s, recovered from alcoholism, raised a family, and runs a business. Of course, . . . the fact that the 24 year old is a young single woman. . . forget it.. . . I am sure the typical inmate is smart enough to make the right choice.

bevy 6 years, 10 months ago

Good to see all the Christian-haters are out in full force again today. 1. Sam doesn't represent all of us (Christians). Or even most of us. Or even Jesus, as far as I can see. Matthew 25:41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ 44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

  1. If an ex-con wants a mentor of any kind, we should have a mechanism for providing one. Whether faith-based (notice they did not say CHRISTIAN faith-based) or not. Could be done as a volunteer effort, so should cost the state little or no money.

Any of you complainers willing to step up to the plate? I didn't think so.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 10 months ago

Geez Louise where do you people come from? I must have missed all the Xtian hate in the room.. Wait a minute...Let me guess, because I didn't spell out Xtian now I'm a hater too! I get it now!

Luke 19:27 "And as for these enemies of mine who didn't want me to be their king--bring them in and execute them right here in front of me.'"

notanota 6 years, 10 months ago

I've got no problem with faith-based mentors being provided at no taxpayer cost for those prisoners who request them. Keywords: at no taxpayer cost.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 10 months ago

Keywords2: for those prisoners who request them.

notsobright 6 years, 10 months ago

Exactly how it works! Been doing it for decades. Fascinating how that works in most needs of life. . . Katrina, Inner City Renewal, Prison/inmate reform, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, education, etc. etc. All done and initiated in our history without tax money. . . Go into the prison today and noticed the hundreds of volunteers. . . .

notsobright 6 years, 10 months ago

Yup- that is what the coalition is all about. Mentors are ANY volunteer, from ANY walk of life. It is not even "faith-based"! The effort INCLUDES ANY/ALL "faith-based" and all others. Its called an "open-minded" open public square.

I find it ironic that those who express the greatest passion for secularization are actually the most closed minded.

I look forward to seeing all these people who are so interested here spending their personal time and resources on these efforts.

I have to admit, I am pretty redneck and dumb, but the blatant blind ignorance of these comments of such supposed intelligent people is staggering.

speedy47 6 years, 10 months ago

And he's giving (true) Republicans a bad rap also. Hell, he's giving all of KS a bad rap.

bevy 6 years, 10 months ago

Really? I don't know what you consider "hating on" someone, but personally I find being called "dumb", or "naive Christian do-gooders" or "stupid", or the assertion that many people who practice faith are "sociopaths" to be pretty hateful. You will find all of these comments above.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 10 months ago

And you are hating on the haters. Kind of hypocritical, isn't it?

bevy 6 years, 10 months ago

Point out to me one hateful thing I said about them. I said they were "out in full force." Nothing more than that.

funkdog1 6 years, 10 months ago

Yes, as a matter of fact it is. This is the U.S. where people can be part of any idiotic faith they wish.

Joe Hyde 6 years, 10 months ago

"Faith-based mentors"? The leaders in this field have always been the people and businesses who work through the Parole Office because they are willing to gamble on rehabbing convicted criminals who just finished serving a jail penalty for a crime they earlier committed.

Prison rehabilitation should be about providing jobs, helping someone resume or develop a normal-type productive private life. Attending religious services, or submitting to an volunteer's religion, is a choice that ought to be optional at the recently released prisoner's discretion.

notanota 6 years, 10 months ago

Exactly. We scarlet letter felons in this society. Once convicted, you're cut off from many forms of employment and in some cases even disenfranchised. Either we start building penal colonies and accept that prisoners will be permanently cut off from society, or we figure out a way to rehabilitate people. I'm not seeing faith-based mentoring as something that would accomplish that.

Liberty275 6 years, 10 months ago

I'd request a mentor from The Church of Satan.

notanota 6 years, 10 months ago

He's too busy mentoring Brownback right now.

hujiko 6 years, 10 months ago

"Forced worship stinks in God's nostrils." -Roger Williams

notsobright 6 years, 10 months ago

I was at the conference. Brownback did NOT suggest faith-based mentors! This is an initiative of the ENTIRE state; law enforcement, DOC, DCCCA, treatment centers, educational inst., county jails, etc. etc. . . . and every other stakeholder in the state. They were all there- they ALL conducted seminars! This is about a open public square coalition. These same coalitions have been developed in other states with great success. We all look forward to many of you coming to volunteer your time and money in this effort.

For what it is worth- typical recidivism for prison inmates is 70-80% and costs our society millions. (This next year in KS, 5000 inmates will be released- 4500 will return to crime and prison) However, nationwide (and here in KS), for those thousands of inmates who become part of the Inner Change Freedom Initiative (The Prison Fellowship 18 month Re-entry program) the recidivism is less than 10% with less than 3% for first time prisoners. That means- if we had 5000 prisoners go through the program. . . you do the math. The success with the "flying spaghetti monster" is pretty amazing. Not even anything at a close 2nd! Hmmmm Further, most of the mentoring and work is accomplished by inmates and volunteers. No tax money needed. WOW. How novel is that?

What a sham that dumb and arrogant "flying spaghetti monster" people take credit for 95% of the works and service with the establishment of public education institutions, the hospitals most attend, current Katrina recovery, Inner City Renewal, the International Human Slave Trade, Prison Reform, Inmate Rehab, etc. etc. . I am really dumb, but I think it is a shame that we do not recognize the many atheist organizations, many diverse religions, and particularly those who comment on posts such as these for their sacrifice of so much personal time and money in such a humble and inconspicuous manner. Most of us have never noticed! The FSM people can learn from you I am sure.

notsobright 6 years, 10 months ago

The ENTIRE state- the Public Square- was invited! It was not a closed conference. Look forward to meeting you at the next coalition conference and local meetings.

deec 6 years, 10 months ago

First amendment issues with these programs: "And because inmates in the InnerChange program have nicer prison facilities than those who are not in the program—as well as greater access to parole application support—the suit contends that the InnerChange effort establishes a religious test for prisoner rehabilitation."

deec 6 years, 10 months ago

Oh and there's this:"In 2003, Colson released what he said was statistical validation for this claim, trumpeting a study purporting to show that inmates who took part in InnerChange returned to prison at a much lower rate than those who did not.

The study made a big splash in the media, but the claims quickly evaporated. Mark Kleiman, a professor of public policy at the University of California-Los Angeles, examined the data and found it to be statistically invalid. Prison Fellowship had excluded all the prisoners who did not finish the program, in essence kicking its failures out. When all of the participants were added back in, Kleiman found that InnerChange participants actually returned to prison at a slightly higher rate than a control group."

notsobright 6 years, 10 months ago

. . . "evaporated!" This is just plain stupid. I am on the ground with these real men and women- regularly. We have HARD statistics. . . Kansas IFI last year was 17% overall with under 5% for first time inmates. I am personal friends with the actual people and the actual man who collects the numbers. Nationally IFI last year was 12% over all. Good grief- so complain about +/- 5%. The typical recidivism is easily over 70%!!

Further- I can not believe that someone is going to complain that the 18 month integrated IFI system where men are educated, taught Microsoft skills, how to work, how to have goals and values, how to study, how to critically think, and in that community of 16 hour a day training they MUST abide by strict guidelines. And someone who knows so much about inmate reform is going to complain that some have been dismissed . . . .???

This is not about some individual claiming they have "found God." Anybody can say that. . . . lots of politicians say things like that everyday. . . "I am sorry for the people I have hurt. . . blah blah blah." Give me a track record.

The fact is that IFI demands a minimum 18 month track record. And people complain. . .?? I smell a biased closed mind again! Good grief.

deec 6 years, 10 months ago

No this program is about diverting public funds to evangelical scam artists. In Iowa they were using the telephone "tax" charged by the prison which was supposed to fund activities for the whole prison population to fund this program. They kicked the model prisoners out pf their wing back into the general population. And Iowa terminated their contract because they were unable to maintain the contractually required number of participants.

notanota 6 years, 10 months ago

Read Freakanomics. The best way to cut down on the prison population is to make sure abortion is legal and readily available.

notsobright 6 years, 10 months ago

Its called Eugenics. And like Planned Parenthood founder M. Sanger, I suppose you get to choose who you think should live and who should not. Let me guess. . . inner city minority, mentally handicapped, . . .

notanota 6 years, 10 months ago

Eugenics is forced control of reproduction. Eliminating access to abortion forces birthing. I don't see that as any better. Letting people choose for themselves when and how to reproduce allows every child to be a wanted child.

But thanks for playing today's game of guilt by association. Next up, we'll explain how all vegetarians have the same philosophy as Hitler.

notsobright 6 years, 10 months ago

Exactly- Eugenics. . . What Sanger wanted and developed. . Planned Parenthood. I have her writings here! She believed certain people (as she and her comrades decided) were a stress on the society (including those prone to crime.) The very reason most abortion clinics are in certain neighborhoods! Your ideas are really directly out of Sanger and the Eugenics playbook.

Educate me on your views then. Really. Simple and no trick questions: 1) Is a child a person or not? 2) If there is a change from child to person, when does that change occur?

To save posting time can we be honest and rational? (seriously); your determined "line" of mystical transformation can not be the child's size, the child moving location 3 inches, the child being dependent on someone else, or the child being immature. Nothing in those realities somehow provides a "poof" and the "non-human thing" becomes a child; i.e. a human being.

So when does a child become a human person?

notanota 6 years, 10 months ago

You do love the logical fallacies. Hope you don't like telephones, because Alexander Graham Bell believed in eugenics, too. I don't believe in eugenics, but don't let that get between you and a good straw man argument.

A child has already been born, so children are already people. Nice try at framing the argument to fit your preconceive narrative. It's not the tactic of someone who is honest or rational, though.

woodscolt 6 years, 10 months ago

how much longer till the recall. "There goes kansas down the drain" Not even roto rooter can help save kansas with slimetothebottomback.

woodscolt 6 years, 10 months ago

how much longer till the recall. "There goes kansas down the drain" Not even roto rooter can help save kansas with slimetothebottomback.

geekin_topekan 6 years, 10 months ago

Faith based programs were the gubment's answer to the Indian problem. It's cheaper and there was no shortage of people willing to dangle carrots in Indian's faces.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 10 months ago

Or kidnap their children or give them smallpox infested blankets.

Scruggsy 6 years, 10 months ago

Sounds like a way for him to get his favorite Holy Men on the state's payroll...

sunflowergirl 6 years, 10 months ago

Here's the real kicker. Sam put Margie Phelps in charge of the division. Margie Phelps - as in Fred Phelps daughter and attorney for the Westboro Baptist Church.

verity 6 years, 10 months ago

Could you please give documentation for this? I can't find anything about it online.

Glenn Reed 6 years, 10 months ago

She's actually been in that position for quite a while....

So not Brownback's fault.

Though... I'm wondering how many newly released prisoners will start picketing funerals as a result of this latest faith-based initiative.

verity 6 years, 10 months ago

Thank you for the link---I think.

How did this happen?

notanota 6 years, 10 months ago

Apparently she's really good at the job and leaves the crazy at home. However, putting her in charge of any sort of faith-based mentoring program makes me twitch a little.

pocket_of_sunshine 6 years, 10 months ago

I would like to know where you got this information. I haven't heard of this yet...

mloburgio 6 years, 10 months ago

Unplanned Pregnancies Cost Taxpayers $11 Billion

Studies released Thursday by the Guttmacher Institute and the Brookings Institution show that unintended pregnancies in the U.S. cost taxpayers roughly $11 billion per year. The Guttmacher Institute notes that this estimate is conservative, as it is only considers public insurance costs for pregnancy and first-year infant care. The studies also find that government programs could save billions by preventing unintended pregnancies.

The Guttmacher study found that 64% of births resulting from unintended pregnancies were to women enrolled in publicly funded health care programs, while only 35% of intended births were publicly funded. Adam Sonfield, one of the study’s authors, remarked, "At a time when policymakers everywhere are looking for ways to cut costs under Medicaid, these findings point clearly to a way to achieve that goal by expanding access to health care, not cutting it."

Jimo 6 years, 10 months ago

Can't wait for the first Drudge Report headline:

"KS Gov. Partners to Convert Prisoners to Islam: 'Faith Mentors' to Spread Radical Message: 13 New Muhammeds this Year!!!"

bunnyhawk 6 years, 10 months ago

Gosh, Sam. What about faith based employers?? These folks need jobs!!! No one will hire them without incentives.

Stuart Evans 6 years, 10 months ago

80% of the US population believes in some sort of god(s). 99.9% of the US prison population believes in some sort of god(s). Don't you think these people have had enough religious morality teachings?

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