Prison Program To Be Part Of National Study

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A new program to help Nevada prisoners prepare for life on the street once their terms are completed will be part of a national study, the state Department of Corrections says.

The study will take place during 2005 and cover 18 similar programs nationwide. Two private research groups, the Washington, D.C.-based Urban Institute Justice Policy Center and the North Carolina-based Research Triangle Institute, will be doing the study.

The program, known as "Going Home Prepared," was federally funded in 2002 - along with 69 other adult and juvenile systems nationwide - but it didn't begin until last year, said Jackie Crawford, Corrections Department director.

The program provides short-term housing, counseling and help finding jobs. It's located at Southern Desert Correctional Center near Las Vegas because two-thirds of the prison's inmates return to the immediate area when they are released.

The department director said "Going Home Prepared" is a first for Nevada.

"We kind of started from ground zero," Crawford said, adding that the study could be important for the future of the program since its $1.5 million in funding will end in 2005.

"We could be acknowledged as a model of best practices ... and that could mean more federal funding," Crawford said.