(AP) The nation's top law enforcement official met with a group of ex-offenders after attending an unusual court session in Philadelphia.
Attorney General Eric Holder watched Tuesday as more than a dozen former inmates updated a federal judge on their jobs and family situations.
The bi-weekly meetings are part of an innovative re-entry initiative designed to give participants the support they need to stay out of jail.
Holder told the men it was heartwarming to see how they are rebuilding their lives. He later met privately with several graduates of the program.
Holder is trying to find solutions to the country's overburdened prisons and high recidivism rates.
He says programs like the one in Philadelphia are needed because the U.S. can't prosecute or incarcerate its way to becoming safer.