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Ariz. Breaks Ground in Reforming Prison System

The Arizona prison system is attempting to restructure its correction programs, in the aim of reducing repeat offenders. Jeffrey Brown reports on what these measures hope to achieve.

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  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Marla Heisel, convicted of forgery, is serving her second stint in an Arizona state prison. But this time, she's spending long days at work in a food preparation and catering program.

    But what happened when you went out before?

  • MARLA HEISEL, Inmate:

    I left here with no skills, with nothing to look forward to, really.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    And you ended up back?

  • MARLA HEISEL:

    Because a lot of times people leave here with no money, no job skills, a $50 kick-out, and they go to halfway houses. When you leave here with a skill like this, it matters a lot. It matters a lot. I'm going to cry, but it does.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    The Desert Rose Cafe in the Perryville Women's Prison 20 miles outside Phoenix is part of an experiment that Dora Schriro, director of Arizona's Department of Corrections, calls a "parallel universe."

    DORA SCHRIRO, director, Arizona Department of Corrections: Part of what I learned working in prisons all these years is that prisons are run in so many ways completely opposite to the real world so we don't ever prepare them to do anything except to be incarcerated.

    We tell them when to get up, and when to go to chow, and what job they're going to do. And we give them far too many opportunities to do nothing at all, to not go to school, to not get a GED, to not tackle their addiction issues. That's all different in here.

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