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Cell blocked

"Cell blocked" Continued...

Issue: "Riots in France," Nov. 19, 2005

Unlike typical approaches to criminal rehabilitation, which focus on therapeutic self-realization, IFI challenges men like Mr. Robinson to abandon who and what they are for a new identity outside themselves. Almost every department of corrections in the country pays for some measure of such transformative counsel, whether through chaplains or other religious programming. IFI leaders contend that Americans United has unfairly singled them out.

The lawsuit opened Oct. 24 at the U.S. District Court for Southern Iowa in Des Moines. Judge Robert Pratt recessed arguments Nov. 4, scheduling a return to the case Nov. 28, after the Thanksgiving holiday. Whatever Judge Pratt's decision, Mr. Earley fully expects a series of appeals stretching ultimately to the Supreme Court. "If this issue of recidivism isn't addressed, not only do we have a huge drain on taxpayers, but we're really creating more victims at every turn," he said.

Studies from the U.S. Department of Justice indicate that between 60 percent and 70 percent of all convicts released are arrested in the following three years and almost half return to prison within that same span. Change is needed. Mr. Robinson has changed: "I get to be a father to my daughter and a husband to my wife," he said. "There's nothing I'd rather be."

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