In recent weeks the pages of The Republican Journal have been filled with stories and columns about prison.

Last week, in Belfast, the Maine Coastal Regional Reentry Center accepted its first “residents.” In Augusta, LD 1611, an initiative to minimize the use of solitary confinement in Maine’s prisons, is on the floor of the House of Representatives.

In a half-dozen columns printed in these pages over the last few months, former state representative and chaplain at the Maine State Prison Stan Moody, has addressed conditions inside Maine’s largest prison, including solitary confinement and the re-entry process, or, as he describes it, what happens when prisoners are released with $50 and a bus ticket.

What underlies all of these conversations would seem to be the recognition that, as an entry on the Maine Civil Liberties Union’s Web site on solitary confinement reads, “Most people in prison will someday be out of prison, and the sort of people they are when they get out of prison is strongly affected by the treatment they receive in prison.”

While the second clause seems self-evident to us, we anticipate debate between those who take a martial view of the corrections system and those who advocate rehabilitation. The first part, however, is undeniable. Most people in prison will someday be out of prison.

To that end, we are encouraged that some discussion is taking place around the people who, by whatever circumstances, have given up their civic privileges for a spell. They’ll be back. In the meantime, the more we on the outside are aware of and involved with their journey, the better we will all be when we meet on the streets of our communities.

To look at the two men who arrived at MCRRC last week, young men with duffel bags, moving into narrow rooms appointed with bunk beds, preparing for a busy schedule of therapy, community service, education and job training, it’s easy to imagine how our corrections system can succeed. The program has been billed as a pilot that will inform other planned re-entry centers in an effort to bring down the state’s 56-percent recidivism rate, and we won’t be surprised if it does among those who pass through the Belfast facility.

But the MCRRC program is limited to 32 residents, a fraction of the 4,000 inmates incarcerated in Maine. Reconciling the personalized approach to corrections at play in Belfast with the economy of scale that informs facilities like the 900-inmate prison in Warren should be the goal in years to come. Keeping the corrections system in the public eye, as Moody has said repeatedly in his columns, will be key.