As we progress with our work in this ministry, this is the policy we will apply as we work with the people in this group.

Ephesians 4:28 Ministries Reentry Program

 

Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. 

―Ephesians 4:28  

 

Reaching out to those returning home from prison, and to their families, meeting them where their problems are…. 

    

PRE-RELEASE  

  • We want to build relationships with release-bound inmates (and their families) before they are released from prison.

PAROLEE RELEASE  

  • We want to meet them at the prison gates, at the bus stations, at the train stations, or wherever we need to to make them feel welcome and help them begin their new lives successfully.
  • It is our goal to make it possible for the newly released parolee to not have to work during the first month of freedom, so he/she will have a pressure-free period within which t become acclimated with being free again.

MENTORS  

We will recruit mentors (male on male, female on female) to help these new parolees get their immediate needs met: 1. Take them to the DMV to get ID’s or driver’s licenses. 2. Take them to Social Services to apply for EBT’s, i.e. food stamps and/or financial assistance. 3. Guide them in how to get medical coverage. 4. When applicable (must be 55 or older plus out of work for at least six months), to guide them through the process for employment through AARP. (Although this is an employment issue, it is best to make this application in the early days of release, to take best advantage of the AARP criteria of not having been employed within the previous six months. Also, it takes up to a month for an intake interview to be scheduled; since it is our objective to make it possible for the parolee to not have to work during the first month of release, it will be timely to make the appointment for the intake interview right away so the intake can be done right around the time that first month is concluding.)   NOTE: Since these activities will almost assuredly have to be taken care of over multiple days, it will be necessary to recruit several mentors as the same one will not likely be available all the time.   


TRANSPORTATION  

  • We hope to be able to provide the parolee with a one-time free, thirty-day bus pass. This will give that person a level of independence and eliminate transportation pressures during the first month of freedom.

 1. We may be able to acquire funding for this through the solicitation of sponsors. 2. We may also be able to fund it through fundraising activities of our own. It should be noted that we will share the same fundraising capabilities as every other ministry, i.e. barbeques, yard sales, etc.  


  • After making it through that first month successfully, we hope to be able to provide a free bicycle to each parolee who wishes it. Most will not be able to afford a motor vehicle yet, and the bikes will give them transportation independence sufficiently for most of their needs.

1. We may be able to obtain these bikes by soliciting law enforcement for donations from their pool of confiscated items. 2. We can solicit stores for them. 3. We can solicit them through ads on Craigslist and other such advertising vehicles.  4. We can solicit church members for donated bikes. 5. Mentors may be willing to donate money for purchases of them.   NOTE: Bike locks and lights are necessary and may be solicited in the same manner as the bikes themselves.  


 COMPUTERS AND COMPUTER EDUCATION, PLUS TELEPHONES  

  • We can solicit computers and telephones from the same basic sources as bicycles.
  • We can look into what vocational computer classes are available in the South Florida area, and possibly even raise financial support for the parolees to take these classes.
  • We can solicit computer tutors.
  • The public library offers some computer classes.
  • For a limited time, we might fund their monthly phone bills.

HOUSING  

  • We need to (1) learn where all of the transition and substance abuse homes are in the area, (2) find out what the criteria is for living there, and (3) build relationships with each of these organizations.
  • In most cases, the primary criteria for residence is funding. We need to learn more about the various organizations that provide funding, and we need to build relationships with these organizations as well.
  • With the above information in hand, we will be better suited to act as an agent between the parolee and the various homes, with an eye toward helping to arrange housing even before each person’s release.
  • We can seek sponsors to provide the funding for housing.
  • We can look long-term at acquiring our own home(s) to provide transitional housing. We can look to own and/or rent. HUD provides matching funds for low income housing, and this is something we should look into as a possible source of funding.
  • Again, we can organize fundraisers of our own; as a non-profit organization, in the area fundraising, the possibilities are (relatively speaking) only limited by our collective imagination.

EMPLOYMENT  

  • We need to seek out local business owners and philanthropic organizations to serve as mentors/sponsors who will provide employment and (hopefully) one-on-one guidance.
  • We can learn about each of the regional day labor organizations and guide the parolees there.
  • In the case of those who qualify, we can guide them to AARP, as thier nearly guaranteed part-time employment of 18 hours per week at minimum wage. The primary criteria is being 55 or older and having been out of work for at least six months.
  • We can teach them how to go online and seek out employment opportunities.

INMATES AND PAROLEES’ FAMILIES  

  • We need to conduct workshops with the families, educating them about what to expect when their family members return home from prison. The parolee will not be the same person who left them to go to prison, and they need to be made aware of some of the changes to expect. They need to likewise be made aware of the conditions of parole, probation, curfew, travel restrictions, etc., and how these may affect the family structure.
  • We can organize fellowship activities (picnics, etc.) for them with other families of inmates and parolees, allowing them the opportunity to relax with others who understand exactly what they are going through and are there to help support them.
  • In the same basic tradition of Al-anon and Nar-anon, we can organize (a) support group(s), made up of the families of inmates and parolees. Again, these will be the people who understand exactly what they are going through and will be there to support them. We will need to arrange a place for them to meet, but they can also hold closed and secret groups on Facebook. This latter alternative might work especially well for those who are not yet comfortable with opening themselves up to others in person. 
  • We might get the word out to inmates and their families alike through a variety of sources:

1. Posting regular memos about our organization with prison chaplains as well as in prison libraries. 2. Word of mouth via inmates and their families. 3. Spreading the word about us through other churches and organizations.   NOTE: We especially need to build relationships with the prison chaplain as this is often the best source for promulgating this type of information, and he can likewise be instrumental in helping us build relationships with inmates before they leave prison.   


TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL  

  • Toastmasters is the largest public speaking organization (club) in the world. There are numerous clubs in this area. Dues are $42 dollars per every six months. The plan is to  approach local clubs and solicit their participation in what we are doing; we will ask them to sponsor parolees we recommend to them with six months of free membership. If the parolee wishes to continue being a member after that, it will be his/her responsibility to provide the dues. This will give parolees the opportunity to participate in something positive while networking with people they might not normally have had access to. 
  • In addition to being a positive activity that provides networking possibilities, Toastmasters membership will teach effective communication, public speaking abilities, and leadership skills. This is especially important as these traits are generally lacking in nearly all inmates/parolees. Low self-esteem is the norm in this population, and participation in Toastmasters builds self-esteem and self-confidence for all.

EDUCATION  

  • In the same way that we can assist with computer education, we can do the same with GED’s and other non-computer vocational classes. We should look into whatever educational programs are available, research the funding already in place, and look into ways to raise other funding for this purpose.

CHURCH  

  • We need to offer church fellowship to everyone we minister to. And if they do not wish to attend any of the churches we attend, we still need to encourage them to find a solid church family somewhere. (We know that the best answer to their problems is a relationship with Jesus Christ, but in many cases we will need to help them deal with their more immediate and pressing problems [food, shelter, clothing] before we can get them to concentrate on their spiritual issues.)