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Men get second chance at Vista ranch - North County Times

After six months in the program, Coleman was hired as a counselor at the ranch, and he is now attending classes at Palomar College. Less than two years earlier, he was serving his sixth prison sentence for drug-related offenses."I'm one of their Amity miracles," he said last week, as he relaxed at the serene, 5-acre ranch on one of his days off.The programThe Amity Foundation, which started in 1969 in Tucson, Ariz., to combat drug abuse, came to California 11 years ago with a 200-bed project in RJ Donovan state prison in south San Diego County. It has spread to other state prisons and now can serve as many as 9,000 inmates in five prisons across the state.The foundation operates facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Tucson as well as two in California ---- one in Los Angeles and the 50-bed ranch that opened in Vista in 1993.Prisoners begin the program while they're still incarcerated, then must choose whether to continue the program at one of the residential centers when they are released.The state pays about $72 a day for each man at the ranch, which comes out to about $13,000 for a six-month program, said Shawna Smith, who manages Amity - more available

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