Ex-inmates apply open source to rehabilitation

Almost 70 per cent of released inmates end up returning to prison. A new project uses gaming and cooperative development techniques to train ex-inmates for personal and family life.

What's Open Source about all this?

First off, the software, of course! Using Linux, there is no cost to the taxpayer. The most important Open Source part of this, however, the one that truly counts, is the development method of the non-software parts of the system, the videos.

What do you mean?

We hope that actual offenders will become allowed to write many of the scripts based on the "Elements of Criminal Thinking" in an O. Henry style with twists of humor and pathos, and re-enact themselves while being video recorded. After all, we're the experts on what we did and why. So, in that fashion it will be truly "Open Source", with anyone and everyone tossing something into the pot to make a stew. We have 1,400 individuals and organizations that are doing the "Good Work", offering what skills and resources they may possess to CSI in the Raleigh/Durham area to join what the clients need. On a spiritual level, it's just like church. I'm just doing what I find some joy in, and Dennis is my best friend and mentor who leads this flock. Everyone pitches in. Dennis is the spark plug that enables me, as well as many others.

OK, so it's not just about reducing costs, right?

Exactly. Even more important than costs is the fact that without a buy-in from the inmates, everything is suspect, little is trusted and monies are wasted. They have their reasons, trust me again also on that point. So, using peers and allowing them to make their own presentations and guide what is presented in the 3D environment to the point of even programming it, that will be the key towards greater and greater investment and involvement by those behind the razor wire. That is where our success will come from. From them and all who care.

We think we know how, as we've been there, and have the feel for what will and will not work. It's just like when a piece of software gets better because all its own users help develop it. SOAR Inmates wrote most of the text in their text books. If the Academics could have done this, they would have done it 30 years ago. Besides, having inmates openly share everything they develop is part of their "therapy", that is of learning not to take, overtly or covertly, but to give of themselves freely. And, just maybe, by that act spare a potential victim, again who bears the true cost of recidivism.

What is the reason for insistence on Open-Source licensing?

So that no one political, commercial, spiritual, educational, or any other "group" can dictate the evolution of the program or see it as just another scheme to make sums of money. Everyone will have the opportunity to step forth freely with videos, graphics, musical and programming skills, with a willingness to assist another back to a better life. We've already been given many original music scores, programming help from some heavy coders, and even the rights to use commercial video bits from a popular movie!

Does NuOAR end with playing the 3D game?

No! Once it becomes demonstrated that the individual grasps certain concepts well, then they attend "Real World" group therapy sessions as informed and valuable assets to the groups. If we're successful, there will be a lot of jobs for all of those Sociology grads looking for a "Good Work" to perform! We want to discover and focus on the strengths of the individual, not dwell of the failures.

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