The Need For Amicus Programs
The highest number of inmates in U.S. history – over 630,000 – will be released from our nation’s prisons this year (January 2002 TIME Magazine). In Minnesota, more than 95% of all adults who have been incarcerated will return to the community. Research tells us that punishment without rehabilitation serves only to increase recidivism. Programs that counteract recidivism offer practical problem-solving life skills, include restorative justice healing whenever possible, and are based in caring, respectful relationships.
While women weep as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight.”
William Booth, Salvation Army founder
According to the 2001 Commissioner’s Report, the number of inmates in Minnesota prisons continues to increase at a rate of approximately 200 – 300 offenders per year. However, the programs and opportunities offered to these inmates while in the criminal justice system have continued to be reduced or cut completely. There is no doubt that get-tough-on-crime talk and action makes people feel better about crime. But Amicus has the same goal as the get-tough faction: to reduce crime and create safer, stronger communities.
The question is how you accomplish that goal, and what actually works.
Amicus believes it is imperative to help this population so that they are given every opportunity and encouragement to rebuild their lives and find constructive ways to return to the community in a positive and safe manner. Finding volunteers, donors, employers, landlords, and communities willing to work with ex-offenders as they strive to build new lives can be an uphill struggle. Every missed opportunity for socialization of the inmate and ex-offender sentences the entire community to the financially and emotionally costly cycle of crime and incarceration.
Amicus programs are based on three basic principles:
- that offenders can and do change,
- that spending time with caring and positive people promotes change, and
- that connection to a community deters crime.
Amicus currently operates 4 distinct programs: ONE-TO-ONE, RECONNECT, SISTERS HELPING SISTERS, and RADIUS. Amicus also participates in other programs held in the correctional facilities. In addition, specially trained Amicus volunteers visit inmates in segregation and the infirmary at MCF-Oak Park Heights.
The Amicus Model is relationship-based, community-driven, culturally specific and outcome-oriented.
For further details about the Amicus programs, visit our Programs page.