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Calif. Training Program For Non-violent Prisoners Yields Positive Results

Editor's note: This is the transcription of an interview by KPBS Reporter Ed Joyce.

The California Department of Corrections funds a training program for non-violent prisoners and it has an amazing success rate. Those who graduate have less than a 3 percent recidivism rate.

The California Department of Corrections funds a training program for non-violent prisoners and it has an amazing success rate. Investigative Reporter Mitch Blacher with the 10News I-Team talks to KPBS about the dive training program.

BLACHER:

“The thing that makes it so successful is that many of these inmates don’t ever return. This program, The Marine Technology Program has a 3 % recidivism rate. Compare that to the rest of the prison population at 55%. One of the main reasons that many think that is the case is because these guys get an unvbelievable skill set. They know how to do underwater welding, escape from a sinking helicopter; things that could be useful in a deep sea operation. They are able to parlay those skills into a six-figure salary. Many of them when they get out of prison.

JOYCE:

And where does this program take place?

BLACHER:

Its about 100 miles outside of San Diego in the California Desert.

JOYCE:

And this was created by a diver who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor?

BLACHER :

Yes, his name is Leonard Greenstone. He dove and helped look for survivors during that sneak attack and he helped create this. The translation is he started his diving career looking for survivors and hes ending it now creating some.

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