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Good News, etc, - July's San Diego Newspaper Edition - THE VET-MOD: How the Vista Jail is preparing one group for the ‘Outside’ By STU SMITH Jails aren’t built for hope. They’re created to show contempt for crimes and the criminals who commit them. They’re designed to crush hope with concrete walls that breed despair, steel bars and tables and stools that offer no comfort, and colored lines on the floor that tell downcast eyes where slippered feet can stand. In jails, hope doesn’t have a color. “Inside” everything is dull and uninspiring. Walls are as empty as the eyes that stare out from behind the glass of cell doors. But it is the light that sucks the life out of your soul. It is dim, it has no source, and it never changes. The light whispers “you have no future” 24 hours a day. Satan likes jails, but God loves inmates, and He does what He pleases with the powers of heaven and peoples of the earth. This is a story of what He is doing at a local jail for a bunch of guys who need a second chance. For something close to two years, it has pleased God to change the light at the Vista Detention Facility, showing what can be accomplished when inmates are treated with respect, housed in a safe environment, and given something to look forward to “Outside.” In 15 years as a chaplain at the Vista jail, Linda Barrett has never seen anything like what is happening in the Veteran’s Module of the facility. Over the past 18 to 24 months, selected military veterans have been part of a unique program that has turned their stark, prison-issue holding area into a launching pad of college students, entrepreneurs and born-again souls with a zest for life and a hunger to lead a normal life. “Out of 250 graduates,” she smiles, “we’ve had a total of 12 returns in two years.” With that recidivism rate of less than 4%, compared to the national average well above 50%, the Vet-Mod program, as it is called, is getting increased attention. Local command staff heard of the original program’s success in the Sacramento area and decided to try it in Vista. Results have rewarded that decision.

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