To the Editor:
I enjoyed the Guest View by Charles Burdick on the Civilian Conservation Corps. The work done by CCC has been a great asset to Southern Illinois, beginning with Giant City State Park and throughout the Shawnee National Forrest. I had a copy of a history of the CCC Camp at Giant City that build the lodge, trails, etc., but gave it to my son who has his degree in forestry from SIU.
Given the benefits to the individual and the community from this Great Depression program, maybe a 21st Century version should be created as a re-entry program for prisoners being released from our prisons. I suggest it be named the Community Care Corps. Since the Department of Corrections is looking for a means to reduce the high recidivism rate, could this be that means?
Released prisoners would be enrolled in a county CCC camp where they would work off their outstanding fines and fees by doing community service (City Beautiful, etc.). Included in the community service would be the time they spent enrolled in community college classes where they would be assessed and placed in short courses related to adult basic education (GED, etc.) and pre-employment skills. This could involve the benefits of a halfway house setting.
This is a win-win program for the state, community, and released prisoners. Any correctional officer will tell you that a community sending its worse criminals to prison is not a solution since the prison will send 98 percent of them back to the community. It has been said that a community gets the kind of crime it deserves if it is not actively involved in rehabilitation programs for criminals and crime prevention programs.
James R. Gillespie