Lock Up, Rub Down - 2001-11-15
State Senator Tom Smith spent time recently in a Mexican prison. And loved it. Now, Smith (who was just visiting the jail, not locked up in it) and some of his colleagues are clamoring for Arizona to be the first state to use an experimental drug treatment program for prisoners. Inmates would swallow massive amounts of vitamins, sweat in a sauna for up to five hours a day and massage each other.
At Smith's urging, officials at the state departments of corrections and juvenile corrections are devoting public resources to investigating the efficacy of "Second Chance," which is based on the principles of L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.
Second Chance, which also incorporates self-esteem and life skills training, has reportedly had remarkable results in Mexican prisons, including an Ensenada facility that Smith and others toured. But critics warn that the "body disintoxication" process -- which includes large doses of niacin (a vitamin commonly used to regulate cholesterol and metabolic rates) and is similar to the "purification" program Scientologists follow when joining the church -- does not rid the body of drugs and can be very dangerous. Others worry the program has not been adequately tested.