From Prison To Community...
Hi friends and family, are you sensing freedom with the virus restrictions being lifted that has kept us all in shackles and held captive for the past few months?
I call it a glimpse into what our incarcerated go through except we live quite luxurious lives with freedoms they’ll never experience.
I know I’m not quite prepared, nor do I feel total peace, being in close proximity and contact with larger groups, but mask-to-mask conversations and small intimate settings are good for me. I do, however, miss my social interaction with close friends and family.
I am eternally grateful for the countless hours spent conducting business on Zoom, but I won’t cry me a river saying goodbye to it either. How about you?
I have to admit, we have been forced to think outside the box to communicate, but it’s given me time to watch and observe. This pandemic definitely consumed every last morsel of energy running through my veins, but it’s confirmed just how precious and fleeting lives are and to embrace our many blessings.
With the rebranding of Blameless and Forever Free Ministries, it’s been a bit tricky and all-consuming having to cancel and reschedule all year’s fundraising events, so I’m trying to transition and build this blog over.
I hope to share stories from hearts of those incarcerated, mothers of murderers, what family and friends go through when their loved ones become incarcerated AND released, along with bringing awareness to the discrimination and prejudices our prisoners go through when they become released.
They are not prepared…
We wonder why we have such high recidivism rates?
We’ve lived under this umbrella of mass incarceration for so long, especially here in California, that we’ve basically just thrown away the key for those who have made horrible decisions. Instead, we’ve let power and greed build a criminal justice system without any forethought that prisoners are not animals and they need rehabilitation.
And THEY ARE WORTHY of love and support!
Rehabilitation must begin the day they’re sentenced to prison, not after they’ve been released or served many years!!!
I’ve been having fun with some new programs (only after countless frustrating hours), and created this little storytelling video to help bring compassion and awareness to what Blameless is initiating through our Redemption Team and the purpose of the re-entry program center.
Our incarcerated deserve a second chance. They are serving time for their crimes. But if we’re releasing them without exploring and rehabilitating what led them to the heinous crimes and poor decisions in the first place (deep hurts), we’re creating more volatile and violent behaviors.
Being caged up like animals enables this revolving door of opportunity and excuse for cycles of re-offending to work in full force. This lends to increasing crime and even encourages more homelessness if we don’t get in and heal the hurts that led them there to begin with.
Hurt People Hurt Others, But Healed People Heal!
One element became unashamedly obvious while pouring into our incarcerated. Blameless and Forever Free Ministries was created because the Lord chose to bring awareness walking through my own crisis. I was able to witness the thirst for hope and how paramount it is that we share God’s Great Love with our incarcerated along with comprehensive programming. This not only offers them a place to belong and transition into, but be accepted right where they’re at (change is hard and awkward).
Being held accountable while learning from our mistakes through God’s amazing grace restores lives, teaches healthy behaviors and boundaries with patience and forgiveness, leading them to experience being successful, productive members of society.
The incarcerated WANT TO SUCCEED. They need help and guidance delivered through forgiveness, surrounding them with support and encouragement, not just those chasing them around through threats of more prison time, parole and probation (though we are eternally grateful for their service). That’s called fellowship in my world!
All they have known is their segregated prison groups and institutionalized existence (thinking) while being drunk on criminal conduct. That’s a cocktail that bites all of us in the assets!
That’s sobering information that needs reform!
Knowing it costs more annually to house prisoners than it would be to send them to Harvard for an education with housing included, this paints a very dark picture and an injustice to ALL that needs fixing.
I’d much rather invest in and have a bunch of Harvard grads running around society contributing to social reform and human kindness; wouldn’t you?
I don’t know about you, but I want safer communities. That requires supporting and rehabilitating our returning citizens along with equipping them with the tools and education they need to plow through all the discrimination and lack of housing availability because of their “felon” tag. Lifetime branding!
All we’re doing is shuffling them around throughout the justice system; from arrest, to court, to prison, to release; to arrest, to court, to prison, to release. We’re all tired of trying. It’s just like the homeless epidemic; we’re not engaging with the need behind the need. It’s a vicious cycle!
Enough said. I’m on a Tammy Tangent.
Until next time…