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Twenty Seven Dollar Solutions

NCJ Number
American Jails Volume: 26 Issue: 3 Dated: July/August 2012 Pages: 8-16
Thomas P. O'Connor
Date Published
July 2012
8 pages
This article examines how evidence-based programs can be used for crime prevention and as an intervention for lifting people out of poverty.
This article discusses the use of evidence-based programs for crime prevention and as interventions for lifting people out of poverty. The article compares these programs to the work of the Grameen Bank which provides microloans, or $27 solutions, to individuals to help them escape the cycle of poverty. The $27 solution stems from the initial work of the Bank's creator, Muhammad Yunus, who loaned a group of women $27 to help them buy materials to establish a business and thus work their way out of poverty. The author notes that the same $27 solutions can be used as a compassionate, effective, and efficient way to fight crime. The author highlights several programs that qualify as $27 solutions. These programs include COSA, the Circles of Support and Accountability program begun in Hamilton, Ontario in 1994; and the use of H/S/R (Humanist/Spiritual/Religious) services for both men and women in Oregon prisons. The COSA program pairs volunteers with chaplains, probation and parole officers, police, and psychologists to work with recently released inmates convicted of sexual offenses in order to reduce their rate of recidivism. The program operates at a fraction of the cost of traditional corrections-based treatment programs, and with a lower rate of recidivism. The H/S/R services provided in Oregon prisons also rely heavily on volunteers to work with inmate to awaken, deepen, and express their particular way of finding a meaningful life. Results of studies evaluating the success of these services are highlighted in the article. Suggestions for further research on the use of H/S/R services are discussed. Figures and references