Tag Archives: Crossroads

First Step Act: Reducing Sentences For Nonviolent Offenders

The First Step Act, Chuck Colson, and the Church’s Work of Restoration

  • “The First Step Act,” which sought to reduce the number of people in overcrowded federal prisons and improve conditions for those behind bars.
  • When he endorsed the bill, President Trump said, “We’re all better off when former inmates can receive and re-enter society as law-abiding, productive citizens.” At last month’s Republican National Convention, Ivanka Trump called the First Step Act “the most significant criminal justice reform of our generation.” That’s not an overstatement.
  • A major feature of the bill is that it reduces mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders, especially “low-level, nonviolent offenders.”
  • In its first year, the First Step Act has literally changed thousands of lives. According to a recent report from the United States Sentencing Commission, the sentences of more than 7,000 federal prisoners, deemed able to safely return to their communities, were reduced.
  • the First Step Act is a modest, but very real, “first step” towards comprehensive criminal justice reform

This Is My Kairos

Kairos is a Greek word meaning time.

Kairos Prison Ministry International, Inc. is a Christian faith based ministry which addresses the spiritual needs of incarcerated men, women, youth, and their families. By sharing the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, Kairos changes hearts, transform lives and impacts your world. 

Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”

Jesus

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Eph 5:1-2

If you would like to learn about the numerous opportunities to exercise your spiritual gifts, help others find Christ, and train others for the work of the ministry, contact me.

Reducing Recidivism

Educational and rehab services are badly needed. Information has to flow into the prison to the inmate. That information has to be clear and powerful enough to change adverse behavior. I write letters and grade lessons to do just that. Contact me to find out how you or someone you know can help.

Re-entry into society, or back to prison?

  • Why do so many inmates in the United States end up returning to prison after they are released? 
  • We learned of inmates who worked with prison guards to deal drugs. We heard about others who used drugs for the first time while incarcerated. Instead of getting rehab, those who came in addicted often got worse. We found inmates who used their time not to gain a trade but to learn how to more craftily commit crimes upon release.
  • Restrictions, corruption and limited educational and drug rehab services help ensure that more than 75% of prisoners return to the system within five years of release in America.
  • Candace Harp-Harlow, an inmate we met in Oklahoma’s Mabel Bassett prison, was the victim of sexual trauma — molested at age 6, raped at 13. She started self-medicating with drugs. Soon, she was addicted to Xanax. 
  • Through much of her incarceration, she continued to use. She also never got sufficient psychological care or job training. 
  • across the USA more than 48,000 legal restrictions limit, among other things, where former inmates can work, whether they can vote and their ability to get housing. 
  • Re-entry services have been shown to lower recidivism. Three years after incarceration, rates dropped between 6% and 19% in eight states that tracked recidivism from 2010 to 2013. 
  • A program that offers transitional services in Oklahoma, Exodus House, also managed to lower re-incarceration rates. Over seven years, only 13% of participants went back to prison. 
  • One memorable response, the one that most reflects what we saw, came from Pitman: “Are prisons in the U.S. failing inmates? I would say yes. But I would also say we as citizens are failing our fellow citizens.” 

My Letter To Another Murderer

There are few things in this world that are more exhilarating than seeing your thoughts come together when you write a letter to a murderer.

What should I say to someone who murdered another man? This guy killed a 22 year old when he would not return the car he lent him for some drugs. He shot him 6 times in the back. Now he is in in prison and been there for nearly 2 years. He just finished his 15th Bible Study. I’ve read his answers and believe God changed his life. Now he begins a new series called Survey of the Bible and I have to grade his first lesson.

As I sat down to write my thoughts filled with important questions, but none to help me write. Is he sincere? Is he genuine? I think of the victim and his family and their losses. How are they doing? I pray for them; I pray for this student. I don’t know what to say to this man.

My job is to simply grade the lesson and write a letter. The task is not difficult, but I sure am! How do I escape my own preconceptions that block my pen?

With a blank sheet of paper still in front of me, I pray. I prayed with a heavy heart asking God to direct me in what to say. After a time of feeling lost, I began to write. Once I start, I keep moving. I watch my thoughts get organized. I watch ideas flood my head. Soon, I finish a 4 page letter that encouraged even me! It contained the richness of God’s Word mixed with everyday experiences; it was life giving. It gave life to me! And seeing the living God answer my prayer like this is exhilarating!

Heb 13:3 Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them…

Will you consider…