Hmm, I don't recall having a debate with you about guns, unless it was a quick, one off exchange. A few years back, it was a pretty intense subject on here for a few weeks and it lead to some hurt feelings and I don't think anyone really changed their minds on anything. I've been shy on the subject ever since.
That said, to mirror what goobster said but also take it in a bit of a different direction, this program has a baseline element that I'm seeing in a lot of other social programs lately in that it tries to address the problem by humanizing the participants and treating them with respect and concern. It may take more time and effort, but the results can be more effective and longer lasting. It's hard though, because a lot of the time the resources just aren't there. I know a few social workers and a general government workers. They all love their jobs, but if they all have a common complaint it's that they all feel stretched too thin. The reason you don't see more programs like these here in America, like you do in other countries like Norway's prison programs, is that when you start to upscale them they become cost prohibitive.
I'd like to say, also, as an aside that the public's reaction to finding the program unreasonable ("You want to give criminals money?!") isn't surprising at all, but it is disappointing. Homelessness, joblessness, criminal history, substance abuse problems, all of them have a really strong social stigma in this country and the upfront, emotional reaction to them is almost always negative and it does nothing but to further harden these people's lives. That kind of circles back to the success of these programs though, doesn't it? How can you feel encouraged to better yourself if you feel like the whole world sees you as shit? Strength comes from within, but we often need things and people outside of ourselves to remind us how strong we can really be.