At a Connecticut maximum security prison, lifers mentor young inmates in a German-style unit

A rehabilitation-based program at a maximum security prison is relying on older, respected inmates serving life sentences to help 18 to 25 year-old inmates prepare for life beyond prison walls

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This week, 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker went behind the walls of the Cheshire Correctional Institution, a maximum-security prison in Connecticut, to report on an experimental program that is pushing the envelope of prison reform in the United States.  

Warden Scott Erfe and his staff, assisted by the nonprofit Vera Institute of Justice, created a program called T.R.U.E. -- short for truthful, respectful, understanding, and elevating -- that was inspired by Germany's prison system, which focuses on human dignity and rehabilitation.  

Out of a pool of some 200 applicants, Warden Erfe selected about 50 prisoners between the ages of 18 and 25, whose brains, science shows, are still developing and whose behavior is still susceptible to change.  Their crimes range from drugs to arson to violent assault. Erfe placed them in a cell block with about 20 respected, older prisoners he tapped to serve as mentors.

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