Prison Groups Get Boost from the Capitol

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Faith-based prison groups providing help and support for ex-inmates and their families can get some extra help from the government.

On Wednesday, President Bush signed the Second Chance Act of 2007, which will award $362 million in prison outreach grants.

The bill, which was passed unanimously in the Senate, will provide grants to faith-based groups that mentor former inmates and help them adjust back into society.

It's passage comes after a recent report that one in 100 adults are currently in jail and costing U.S. taxpayers more than $55 billion a year.

The Christian ministry Prison Fellowship helped pass the Second Chance Act through Congress. The ministry is the world's largest prison outreach group.

"These grants allow churches and community groups to recruit, train and match returning inmates with mentors," said Mark Earley, president of Prison Fellowship. "Pairing returning inmates with loving mentors from local churches is the best way to help them stay on the straight and narrow."

President Bush said results of the bill are promising. He talked about how he was the product of a faith-based program earlier in life.

"I quit drinking, and it wasn't because of a government program," he said. "It required a little more powerful force than a government program in my case."

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, some 700,000 inmates will be released from prison this year.

But Prison Fellowship Vice President Pat Nolan said little is being done to help them.

"As a result, more than half end up back in prison within three years," he said.

Sources: CBN News, The Associated Press, Prison Fellowship

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