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Helping Ex-Cons

November 15, 1988

Eventually, nearly all imprisoned convicts return to the community. For those without jobs or skills, returning to crime may be the path of least resistance--a path leading back behind bars. That's why innovative programs like Hotel Ferraro (Metro, Nov. 2) are so vital in the fight against crime.

It's not enough to supervise ex-offenders. Society must provide meaningful alternatives to crime: training, counseling, employment. The Foundation for People has helped many Ferraro residents find such opportunities. We know they cut the recidivism rate. We know such efforts cost a small fraction of repeat prison terms. We know the cycle of criminal behavior can be broken, if a way out is offered to those who want to go straight.

Prison alternatives don't work for everybody; what does? Programs that help ex-cons rebuild their lives and attitudes are a far better barrier to crime than prison walls.

ELIZABETH NEPSTAD

Executive Director

Foundation for People

Los Angeles

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