The Society for Return to Honor is a nonprofit organization incorporated in 1989 in Sedona, Arizona, for the purpose of facilitating the re-integration of qualified, pre-selected former convicted felons into their communities. It serves as a community-based information gathering organization to assist groups and individuals in helping adult and juvenile offenders return to their communities as useful and contributing members. In the process, it is expected that participating communities will realize a significant reduction in the rate of repeat crimes committed by former felons and crimes committed by juveniles in general.
With over 1,600,000 men, women and adolescents in jails, prisons and detention centers in the United States, and an astonishing seventy to eighty percent of all inmates released from incarceration returning to jail or prison within the first year after their release, it is imperative that communities and individuals take meaningful steps toward understanding the true nature of criminal behavior, and addressing its causes rather than reacting to its effects. Of primary importance in so doing is understanding the Herculean task that faces even the most determined and highly-motivated former offenders as they fight a nearly impossible battle for acceptance and respectability in returning to their communities.
The simplest things most people take for granted are often formidable obstacles for the newly-released prisoner; a place to sleep, food to eat, clothes to wear, a job, transportation, and even deposits required for a place to live. Often lacking required social skills and personal resources, released prisoners face impossible odds in their attempts to make lasting and meaningful changes in their re-entry into society. Building upon a successful program of restoring dignity and purpose to lives of adult former offenders, a second and far more important aspect of the Society's operational plan will be the implementation of a juvenile diversion program in which successful former offenders will serve as counselors and facilitators ("big brothers/sisters") in re-directing the lives of juvenile offenders toward more productive and meaningful lives. Such a program has been identified and outlined, and has been well-received by the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice (see Vernon Spears' letter to the late U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater.)
The Society for Return to Honor recognizes that the most critical need in any meaningful "re-entry" program or juvenile diversion project is compassion and willingness to understand the problems facing offenders of all ages. Its primary aim is to identify qualified, sincere participants who welcome assistance, to facilitate such understanding on all parts and to promote positive interaction between former offenders and members of their communities.
For more information, please contact Don Kirchner at 928-284-1898.
The following is a list of links that each contain scans of original letters of endorsement for the "Return to Honor" program.
Endorsement from John McCain (United States Senator)
Endorsement 1 from Barry Goldwater (United States Senator)
Endorsement 2 from Barry Goldwater (United States Senator)
Endorsement from John Pell President - New Earth Foundation)
Endorsement from Verne Speirs (Acting Administrator for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention) to Barry Goldwater (United States Senator)