A legislative trip to a Mexico prison to view an alternative drug treatment program developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was termed inappropriate Thursday by the Assembly's second-ranking Democrat.
Assembly Majority Leader Barbara Buckley, D-Las Vegas, said the program is scientifically invalid and undercuts other state efforts.
"I think this legislature has a true commitment to the rehabilitation of prisoners, especially those who are drug addicts,"Buckley said.
"If anything, why aren't we working on expanding (drug courts and mental health courts)? Why would we adopt an experimental, gimmicky program that has absolutely no scientific validation for it. All the studies seem to be done by Scientology efforts."
Buckley also said it's ironic Nevada would look to Mexico prisons for ways to handle drug addiction.
Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, R-Reno, tried to set up the 1-day trip to Ensenada State Prison to promote her plan for establishing the Second Chance Program for Nevada's female prison population.
Angle said she's unhappy with Buckley's reaction to the program, saying it could be"like a bridge across the border."
She hopes to take up to 35 legislators to the prison on March 1, but only a few had signed up. And Buckley's statement was a clear warning to the 23 Assembly Democrats to avoid the trip.
The program has been operating in the prison since 1995 and claims a 10 percent recidivism rate for inmates participating in the program.
The trip would be funded by Arizona businessman Randall Suggs. Angle wouldn't reveal any additional information about the donor.
The Second Chance Program detoxifies inmates by administering vitamin and mineral supplements, massage and sauna treatments to drain the body of drug residue, according to the program's brochure.
The program then includes an education component, followed by a self-respect component based on Hubbard's text"The Way to Happiness". The self-respect module also includes one-on-one interviews with a guidance counselor.
The program ends with a life skills component, training inmates on how to evaluate other people and how to change unwanted conditions of their lives. Inmates are then expected to take the program back into their communities upon their release.
Angle has twice visited the Ensenada prison, once with a group of women legislators, and another time with Nevada Department of Corrections Director Jackie Crawford.
Crawford was planning on attending the trip, but decided to remain behind since she had already seen the facility.
The Second Chance Program is licensed by the criminal rehabilitation group Criminon International, a child of NARCONON International, a drug rehabilitation program. Both groups employ Hubbard's teachings in their rehabilitation efforts and are heavily promoted by the Church of Scientology.