Laws in the U.S. are increasingly designed to exclude offenders from society, with residency restrictions, monitoring programs, community notification programs, and civil commitments that effectively keep people locked up forever, even after they’ve served their term in prison.

Public approaches to decarceration are backed by evidence, yet governments are ignoring it in favor of laws that, by and large, aren’t supported by any evidence at all, anecdotal or empirical.

We support the reform of legal roadblocks that keep ex-offenders out of the mainstream of society by advocating for the enactment and/or reform of legislation that protects public safety by making sure that people with past criminal records are able to re-integrate successfully. For example:

~ Civil rights violations in parole supervision

~ Civil rights violations in jail-hold of offenders.

~ Barring offenders from employment

~ Barring offenders from HUD housing

~ Barring offenders from Food Stamps

And in general, the development of a continuum of services, and the subsequent removal of counterproductive roadblocks that keep these citizens out of the mainstream of society.

This is both a restorative social reintegration and crime prevention measure.


In a Community of Care, a "New Direction" Mentor helps the offender forge strong relationships with both informal, or “natural” supports, and professionals.

To achieve adequate “dosage,” the natural supports must include at least 4 to 6 people who see the offender often, do stuff with him, and get him involved in work, volunteering, hobbies, keeping house. 

Mentors re-establish broken relationships with ex-wives, estranged siblings, parents, fishing buddies, whomever.  These informal supports need to be reasonably healthy people.  Social contacts are key to bringing the offender out of the isolation that got him into trouble.

The approach is modeled after a Canadian-born approach, Circles of Support and Accountability (CoSA) that are now used internationally, that have proven to reduce the chances that freed offenders will fall back into their old crimes by 70%.

Pertaining to the anecdotal evidence of the CoSA-like approach by Life After Prison Ministries' Communities of Care, using the New Direction precept model of mentoring, recidivism over an 8-year study is less than 15% for those offenders who remained in the support circle for more than 90 consecutive days. 

In a 6-year empirical study on the effectiveness of CoSAs, reported in 2013 by the Minnesota  Department of Corrections, revealed a reduction in reoffense numbers by 60% in the CoSA group.  ..

This is both a restorative social reintegration and crime prevention measure.


Clearly, the literature reveals that actions follow belief; that what one speaks comes from thoughts driven by belief; and that what one declares to be may not coincide with one’s belief, revealed by one’s actions. Ergo, the approach to habilitating (to make capable for functioning in society) one’s thinking errors, attitudes, behaviors, actions, and consequences, must begin with attention to one’s belief system.

In the New Direction approach, Belief System is defined as a set of beliefs, especially religious, social or political, that form a unified system; a collection and organization of beliefs prevalent in a community or society. 

The approach incorporates the application of intuitive questioning: the art of asking structured questions to open one’s mind to what one feels to be true even without conscious reasoning; an instinctive response.

“A New Direction” is a precept-driven approach to establishing a new normal for troubled adults and a successful normal for the aspiring life of teens.  

In the approach, mentors trained in intuitive questioning share specific precepts, knowledge, targeted skills, practical information, and a new perspective to foster the personal and professional growth of protégés.

This is both a restorative social reintegration and crime prevention measure.


Life After