Agree wholeheartedly. As pointed out, the opposition to these types of programs comes from a "prison as retribution" mind-set as opposed to a "prison as rehabilitation" mind-set. We want revenge, and it comes at a steep price. Recidivism in the US is extremely high. In a study cited on the National Institute of Justice website:
Within three years of release, about two-thirds (67.8 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested. Within five years of release, about three-quarters (76.6 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested. Of those prisoners who were rearrested, more than half (56.7 percent) were arrested by the end of the first year.
Compare that with Norway's recidivism rate of 20 percent. That country's prison system focuses on rehabilitation, and yes people may grumble a bit that prisons are a little too nice, with classes, jobs and responsibilities but the end result is worth it. A lot of people commit crimes not because they're shitty people, they do it because they don't have or can't see other worthwhile opportunities. Expand their worlds – it works!