We are following an inmate upon his release from jail or prison. Basically, this realistic time of release is so familiar to ex-offenders, that it causes much stress and temptation, and, often ends in defeat, violation of the law, and the all too-familiar trip to the county jail.
George steps off the Greyhound bus that has brought him from the town where he was in jail for ten years to his own hometown. He is filled with hopes, aspirations, and thoughts of staying out of jail.
- He has less than $50 in his pocket
- No job or prospect of one
- No place to live
- No contacts
- No food or decent clothing
- No car
He buys a newspaper. Hurriedly, he scans the want adds. There are several jobs available, so he rushes to the employer. The interviewer comes right to the point and asks these questions:
Where do you live? I have no place yet.
What is your phone number? I have none.
How would you get to and from work? I don’t know.
Who are your references? I have none at present.
Have you ever been convicted of a felony ????
Where did you work from 1980 to 1987 ????
RESULT: Sorry, we can’t use you!!!
George starts to look for a place to stay. He checks the newspaper again, and finds a possibility. He rushes to the address and the landlord comes right to the point and asks more thorough questions.
Where do you work? I have no job yet.
Where will you get the money for rent? ???
Where will you get the security deposit of $250? ???
George is disgusted, depressed, and discouraged. He leaves the property and starts to look for help. Obviously, he is now getting desperate, so he turns to his own lifestyle for results. He remembers the bar was a good place to meet people and the bartender always has a listening ear. He stops off at the bar he frequented many times before going to jail. He sees his immediate needs as :
- A good listener to tell his problems
- Female companionship
He orders a drink, then another, and another, and a short time later, he and his pickup leave the bar. With no money, and a girl for the night, he resorts to the only thing in which he has been successful – making a few dollars the street way!
The day ends! George knows he has failed, been rejected, and has violated the law. His thoughts are confused – he is paranoid and desperate.
The next day finds a repeat of the first and a short time later. George is headed back to jail. The old familiar welcoming party of inmates and officers are there to greet him with, “We knew you would be back – and we were right.”
SECOND CHANCE MINISTRIES COULD BE THE ANSWER!
Let’s follow George again as he is released from jail.
A volunteer who has ministered to him over the years picks him up. His first stop is Second Chance Stepping Stone House – his new home!
George has a job waiting for him with a local business with decent wages. His new residence includes a room (no security deposit needed) and no rent to be paid (minimal amount) until the wages start coming in.
He has staff and volunteers ready to listen, counsel, and advise. New friends, who will enhance his spiritual well-being as well as encourage him, accept him as he really is. Immediately he feels as though someone really cares! He is right. Someone does care and that’s why aftercare is available for him. Obviously, aftercare is just as the name implies. It is care for ex-offenders. Care after they have been released from prison back into society.
George has available practical helps also. Teaching enables him to budget his income, open and maintain checking and savings accounts, keep personal records, personal housekeeping, personal hygiene, etiquette, manners, and many more important teachings and lessons in almost every area of living. What a contrast between the failure and rejection most ex-offenders face upon their release and the success and the acceptance that few ex-offenders have in aftercare centers!
The time is at hand – in fact greatly overdue – to reduce 88% recidivism by making aftercare available to those who need it, qualify for it, and are accepted into the program. Born-to-lose losers become born-again winners! Takers become givers! Rejects of society become worthwhile, contributing members in our community.
We have made a covenant with God to proceed, as the funds are available. As God provides, we will build. God’s timing and his provision are both on our side. Reality is now at hand – in fact, it is in your hands! The choice is yours!!