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CBS Transcript: Preparing for a New Life

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Unofficial transcript - CBS Evening News
- Saturday, October 28, 2006

Lead-in from CBS News anchor Thalia Assuras:

OF THE 600,000 INMATES AMERICA'S PRISONS RELEASE EVERY YEAR, ALMOST TWO-THIRDS ARE EXPECTED TO BE BACK BEHIND BARS WITHIN THREE YEARS.

PROOF, CORRECTIONS EXPERTS SAY, THAT WE NEED NEW WAYS TO PREPARE INMATES FOR LIFE BEYOND THE PRISON WALLS.

THAT'S TONIGHT'S WEEKEND JOURNAL: AN EXCLUSIVE LOOK AT A PROGRAM - OFFICIALLY LAUNCHED THIS MONTH - THAT SEEMS TO BE WORKING:
Tape:


(Video of barber giving a shave)

THAT'S DECARUS WARDRETT WIELDING THE SHAVER... LI'L MAN AS HE'S KNOWN AT THE NORTHHEAST WASHINGTON DC BARBER SHOP WHERE HE WORKS LONG DAYS. HE'S ALSO WORKING HARD AT STAYING CLEAN AND OUT OF PRISON.

Q: Were drugs a big part of your life?
D: Yes.
Q: How big? What kind of drugs, what do you mean?
A: I've used every type of drug besides heroin and ecstasy. So everything else, marijuana, crack cocaine, PCP. I've used it.

WARDRETT IS LIKE MOST OFFENDERS: UP TO 70 PER CENT HAVE SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROBLEMS, CONSTANTLY IN AND OUT OF PRISON. 42-YEAR-OLD WARDRETT HAS BEEN LOCKED UP 10 TIMES ... HIS LAST STINT: MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS FOR ROBBERY.

(Wardrett) I didn't really want to come.

[Graphic:\CBS NEWS EXCLUSIVE]
THAT RECORD PUT HIM HERE ... IN DC'S INNOVATIVE "REENTRY AND SANCTIONS PROGRAM." HARD-CORE FEDERAL INMATES SPEND 28 DAYS PREPARING FOR THEIR RELEASE BACK INTO THE COMMUNITY, BY FOCUSSING ON THE DRUG PROBLEMS THAT LIKELY LAUNCHED THEM INTO THEIR DOWNWARD SPIRAL IN THE FIRST PLACE .

(Sound and video of group therapy):

COUNSELLING PLAYS A BIG PART AND INCLUDES PSYCHOTHERAPY, FATHERHOOD TRAINING AND ANGER MANAGEMENT ... WITH SPECIALIZED TREATMENT PLANS FOR EACH RESIDENT.

(Sound from Interview)
Paul Quander, Director, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency: It forces you to look at yourself.//It's difficult to look back and talk about what happened in your childhood. It's difficult to talk about your mother's substance abuse. It's difficult to talk about how the first time you saw someone use drugs, it was your grandmother.

(Thalia on camera, in front of Center)

THE APPROACH USED HERE IS PART OF A GROWING TREND ACROSS THE COUNTRY: PREPARING INMATES FOR RE-ENTERING THE COMMUNTIY AND STAYING OUT OF TROUBLE. THAT'S A MAJOR SHIFT FROM THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE LAST TWO DECADES WHEN THE FOCUS WAS ON BUILDING NEW PRISONS.

(BACK TO VIDEO)
THAT AND AN EMPHASIS ON LONG SENTENCES WAS CONSIDERED BEING TOUGH ON CRIME. RE-ENTRY PROGRAMS ARE BEING DUBBED TOUGH AND *SMART.* IT'S A VIEW SHARED BY PRESIDENT BUSH AND OTHER REPUBLICANS WHO SUPPORT THE SECOND CHANCE ACT, AND WOULD AUTHORIZE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN FUNDING.

(More of interview)
- Paul Quander/113428) the bottom line is people are going to come home and we can have them come home hardened, without any resources, without any hope, or we can invest the money and we can invest in the people.//(113618) It's not treatment versus lock them up. It's treatment to enhance public safety. That's the key.

IT'S SOMETHING DECARUS WARDRETT ...

(Back to video of barber shop and buzzing sound)

... HOPES WILL FINALLY HELP HIM STOP GOING THROUGH PRISON'S REVOLVING DOOR.

(More from interview)
I'm tired of going to jail. Q: Not going to happen again?
A: No. I pray to God I won't. You can never say never, but each and every day is a struggle, so I pray.

(Back to anchor desk for final note)
THE SECOND CHANCE ACT IS STILL PENDING IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

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