"A controversial program using Christian teachings to try turn around the lives of hundreds of Minnesota prison inmates is working, according to a new report from the Department of Corrections," reports Minnesota Public Radio.
State researchers followed more than 730 former inmates released between 2003 and 2009 and found that those who were part of the program reduced their risks of returning by as much as 40 percent.
State officials are hailing the program as a cost-effective success. They say it is a good deal because the state provides the space and the program pays everything else.
"There is no cost to the taxpayers of the state of Minnesota," said David Crist, deputy commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Corrections. "Yet it does reduce recidivism. And when offenders are not out there committing new crimes, the public is more safety. That's a very practical reason for working with IFI."
The program, the article acknowledges, is "based on Christian principles." It also acknowledges that no participants are forced to convert to Christianity. Nevertheless, even for those who don't, those principles are helping to change attitudes, behaviors, and lives.