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

? 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.