Taking Chances - 2007-03-28
Julio is one of 56 offenders currently housed at the facility who are participating in a program that is, without question, outside the box. Inmates spend hours sweating in a cedar sauna and take large doses of niacin and vitamin B. Detox is only part of the equation. The program also incorporates role-playing exercises, class work and an emphasis on moral development.
The program was not developed by addiction specialists or criminologists. Rather, almost all of Second Chance's program was developed by L Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology. Much of the program's materials can be traced to Scientology teachings or practices, and some of its funding has come from prominent Scientologists and programs supported by the church.
Now, the state of New Mexico also is a backer. Despite controversial reports on the program in January from The Wall Street Journal (followed by a story in the Albuquerque Journal), Republican lawmakers pushed through a $375,000 allocation to Second Chance in the recent session and Gov. Bill Richardson signed off. That amount was far less than supporters had hoped for but enough for Second Chance to continue trying to prove itself.