I first met Don Kirchner in Sedona, AZ in 1995. No, not the music promoter, the ex-combat helicopter pilot in Vietnam whose involvement with the Mob and a huge drug smuggling operation led to his spearheading a DC-6 landing in the Florida Everglades carrying a load of high grade pot. His eventual arrest, being on the run for five years, and his eventual capture and imprisonment make a great story and his book is outstanding. I recommend it.
After serving 2 1/2 years of a potential 25 year sentence, and with the backing of Senator Goldwater and eventually John McCain, he was released and established the Society for Return to Honor.
With over 2,600,000 men, women and adolescents in jails, prisons and detention centers in the United States, and an astonishing 70-80% of all inmates released from incarceration returning to jail or prison within the first year after their release, it is clear that communities and individuals are not taking the extra meaningful steps toward understanding the true nature of criminal behavior, and addressing its causes rather than reacting to its effects.
Most determined and highly-motivated former offenders 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 the self-confidence, required social skills and personal resources, released prisoners face nearly impossible odds in their attempts at re-entry into society.
Don has struggled trying to assist ex-offenders for fifteen years and now his day may have come. Hollywood took much longer than the Feds to catch up with Don in the person of Academy Award winner, Michael Blake, who is best known for his screenplay and novel, "Dances with Wolves". Blake has completed the first draft for the screenplay for Don's outstanding story, "A Matter of Time". He will also direct. This should make a blockbuster of a movie. I can't wait.
Congrats, old friend.
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