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KENNEBEC JOURNAL •

Medical Journal 2011

Morning Sentinel

Thursday, March 24, 2011

63

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“I believe in redemption. None of us are throw-away people.”...programs like CARA are vital. “In many respects, this is the most important work we do here. The life changes are obvious to everyone; I have seen changes appear right before my eyes.”

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they learn to justify their behaviors.” The CARA program is designed to break this destructive cycle and help participants establish positive relationships. “Often when people become antisocial, they still look for help to get out of this mindset. Unfortunately, they often look in the wrong places,” said Bob Kingham, Crisis and Counseling Director of Correctional Health & Jail Diversion Services. “We try to get CARA graduates to reconnect to their communities and see that they can change …They can live productive lives,” Kingham said. Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty agrees: “I believe in redemption. None of us are throw-away people.” Liberty, who has spent more than 20 years at the Kennebec County

RANDALL LIBERTY, KENNEBEC COUNTY SHERIFF

Sheriff’s Department, said programs like CARA are vital. “In many respects, this is the most important work we do here,” he said. “The life changes are obvious to

everyone; I have seen changes appear right before my eyes.” Hope and redemption are important ingredients of the program. When one participant was released early, he even returned to complete the program. “It is highly unusual for someone to ask to return to jail,” Kingman said. The program is sometimes unfamiliar to participants who might have felt like they didn’t belong or if no one cared for them since they were very young. “These people almost always come from neglected and dysfunc-

tional families, and one of our goals is to remind them that there was a time they stopped caring, a time they gave up … We combat this by anchoring to pro-social bonds,” Mitchell said. Sometimes these pro-social bonds come from institutions like church, work or schools, he said, but often they are the result of interpersonal relationships — connections with family, friends and loved ones – that establish empathetic bonds. “It’s important for them to develop empathetic bonds such as reciprocity, and learn how they can repair trust,” Mitchell said.

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