Governor meets with prisoners about Mentoring4Success program
“Our goal is to reduce the rate of inmates returning to prisons. The men and women involved with the Brothers in Blue Re-Entry program at Lansing are great examples of the tremendous impact a mentor can have on the life of an inmate. They are deeply involved with their mentees who are making great progress as they prepare for their release. We need more like them,” Gov. Brownback said.
The Governor launched the Mentoring4Success program in July 2011. So far the program has recruited more than 1,150 mentors to match with inmates across the state. Inmates become eligible for the program when they have six to 12 remaining on their prison sentences.
Kansas Corrections Secretary Ray Roberts said the agency’s goal is to one day be able to match a mentor with every Kansas prisoner.
“Mentors are able to help strengthen an offender’s success once he or she returns to the community. Offenders face challenges during, and after, their community transition. A mentor is able to reinforce and support the positive steps an offender has made inside a facility, plus they help an offender interface with community resources and collectively do a better job upon release. Therefore, we want to have a mentor for each offender leaving incarceration,” said Secretary Roberts.
During the meeting with the mentors and mentees, the Governor and Secretary asked for suggestions on how to improve the mentoring program. Allowing prisoners to begin the program sooner and expanding the groups of faith that are involved were among the recommendations.
BIB State Director Don Raymond said since the start of the Mentoring4Success, mentoring has become more of a team effort.
“From my point of view, one of the real positives is that this program brings everyone together that’s involved in the inmate’s life. All of the separate entities - Brothers in Blue, the mentor, the parole officer, the facility unit team manager - are all communicating together and working for an inmate’s smooth transition back into society.”
In addition to its 83 mentors who meet weekly with their mentees, the non-profit Brothers in Blue Re-Entry program also works with inmates to provide them provide tools for productive living beyond prison, including cognitive practices which will influence actions and G.E.D., Literacy and Substance Abuse education to inmates in need. Kansans can learn more about the program and becoming a mentor at http://www.doc.ks.gov/mentoring or by calling (785) 296-0450.