In addition to being the seat of the United States government. Washington. DC, is the city with the highest rates of violent and property crime and the highest homicide rate in the country, according to recent FBI ﬁgures. It is a city that must do more than warehouse and release felons.
To address this problem, the DC Jail recently implemented the Criminon Program and has just graduated its ﬁrst class of prisoners. Unlike prisons, where inmates are generally incarcerated for years, jails have very rapid and high turnovers of prisoners, making it diﬃcult to implement any extensive rehabilitation program. The Criminon organization in DC. Criminon New Life DC, solved this by implementing seminar-style delivery programs that rapidly address issues most needed by the inmates.
Three main topics Criminon New Life DC has emphasized are The Way to Happiness to provide the inmates with the basis and tools for moral and social conduct; drug education, since crime is intertwined with drug and alcohol use in DC and throughout the country; and the basics for literacy.
The results of the DC Criminon Program are best expressed in the words of the inmates themselves.
“First of all, I have to say thank you to Criminon very much for helping put together this program and giving your support. Criminon is helping me learn and ﬁ gure out my life as well as others—from anger management to safe sexual behavior. I have learned, by taking part in the sessions, that one cannot get anything in life by doing evil things or having a one-track mind. Doing this, you just lose out every time. But by doing posits things and learning from others and behaving well, one can get a lot which would lead people to think about me in a diﬀerent way.” — D.W., Inmate
“Criminon is putting hope in my life. It has had a great impact on my life. I feel good to be living today. Thanks to Criminon. I have hope in a new and better way.” — T.B., Inmate
“What I am getting out of Criminon is it is letting me see and get to know me and all the things I missed out on in life. And also I am getting to understand how to deal with me and other people.” — R.L., Inmate
“I have gotten a lot wiser from this class. I mean it really helped me a lot. This class really gave me a better look at life. Now I really understand things a lot better than I did at ﬁrst. I knew running to drugs is not going to help you. It might help you at the time, but when they wear oﬀ it is the same old thing again, which is not good.”— K.B., Inmate
“I have been in many drug programs in my life—three to be exact. But I have never been in a class like Criminon. In one day I have learned things about drugs that I never knew. I think Criminon is a good program.” — M.F., Inmate
“Criminon is helping me to learn, because I do not have any schooling. It is giving me a chance to learn about things in life.” — R.R., Inmate