Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc.: the first ministry in the United States created to provide confidential support and counseling to individuals, families and organizations with white-collar and other nonviolent incarceration issues. Greenwich CT & Nationwide.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Dec. 2016 Newsletter: Progressive Prison Ministries. White-Collar Ministry, Advocacy, Service. Faith & Dignity for the Days Ahead



Progressive Prison Ministries
December 2016 Newsletter 


 
Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. 
Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Director, Lynn Springer, Founding Advocate 

White-Collar Ministry I Advocacy I Service
Faith & Dignity for the Days Ahead  
  

The first ministry in the United States created to provide confidential  
support and counseling to individuals, families and organizations with  
white-collar and other nonviolent incarceration issues     

 
In the December 2016 Edition: 
  

 
  



   
 significant

Significant Outcomes: Since Jan. 2015, We have Served Over 140 Individuals and Families in 25 States:  

   
Since Jan. 2015, we have served individuals and families in twenty-five states, including:    
Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
We typically communicate with individuals and families before, during and upon reentry from prison in person or by phone, email, Skype, FaceTime, GoToMeeting or, if in a Federal prison, via CorrLinks. Please click image for our information package. 
   
 WCSG

News: Our White-Collar/Nonviolent
Online Support Group celebrates its thirty-first weekly meeting!     


If you have been convicted of a white-collar or nonviolent crime and have served your sentence, please consider joining our confidential online white-collar/ nonviolent support group [As this support group is being run by clergy as part of a program of pastoral counseling, we consider it to be confidential and privileged]. We hold our weekly group meetings on GoToMeeting on Tuesdays, 8 pm Eastern, 7 pm Central, 6pm Mountain, 5 pm Pacific. Click image for details.
        
 Caruso

Guest Blog: Why Prisoners
and Ex-Felons Should
Retain the Right to Vote 
by Gregg D. Caruso, PhD



6.1 million citizens were barred from voting on election day. Our friend Gregg D. Caruso is Associate Professor of Philosophy at SUNY Corning and Co-Director of the Justice Without Retribution Network (JWRN) housed at the University of Aberdeen School of Law, Scotland. Click image to read Gregg's article. 
 Regret

Guest Blog: What's the Use of Regret? by Gordon Marino, PhD

"Kierkegaard observed that you don't change God when you pray, you change yourself. Perhaps it is the same with regret. I can't rewind and expunge my past actions, but perhaps I change who I am in my act of remorse. Henry David Thoreau advised: 'Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.' To live afresh is to be morally born again." Click image to read Gordon's Op-Ed.  
Methodist

Event: We Will be Leading a Workshop at the UMC Reentry Conference, Jan. 29 & Feb 4, 2017

Louis L. Reed (Program Director of the City of Bridgeport Initiative on Reentry) and I will be leading a workshop at the United Methodist Church Board of Church & Society Reentry Conference. Click image for details.

         
CMCA

Save the Date: We Will Be Leading a Workshop at the CMCA Reentry Conference, May 5-6, 2017

Please join us in Philadelphia as Jeffrey Abramowitz and I will be leading "You Got to Have Faith: An Inside Look at Reentry" at the 5th Annual Correctional Ministries and Chaplains Assn. Summit, May 5-6, 2017. Click image for information and to register.
         
WBAI

Interview: Jeff Talked Criminal Justice with Felipe Luciano, WBAI Radio FM 99.5 NYC    

   
Click image to listen to Felipe & Jeff discuss faithful responses to criminal justice issues in America (at 19.00). Jeff & Felipe were classmates at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. 
 
  FCBJ

Article: Fairfield County Business Journal: Jeff Grant Takes on Leadership of Family ReEntry

   
"Grant's elevation - he's served on Family ReEntry's board of directors since 2009 - marks the first time that a person formerly incarcerated for a white-collar crime has served as the head of a major criminal justice nonprofit. 'It's a tremendous step, and a bold decision on the board's part,' Grant said. 'This is a transformative period for Family ReEntry. I owe them my fresh start, so of course I said yes when they offered me the position.'" Please click image to read Kevin Zimmerman's article. 

GivingTuesday

Donations: A Message to Our Great Community of Givers! 
   

Thank You for All You Do for Those Who Need it Most!
 
We know that you contribute to many important causes, and are grateful for your support of our Ministries this holiday season! Donations can be made by credit card/PayPal by clicking the image above, or by sending your check payable to: "Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc." P.O. Box 1232, Weston, Connecticut 06883. Donations Are Only Source Of Revenue. We are a CT Religious Corp. with 501(c)(3) status. Your donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
 
ContactInfo


Contact Information:  
If transformation and redemption matter to you, a friend or a family member with a white-collar or nonviolent incarceration issue, please contact us and we will promptly send you an information package by mail, email or via Dropbox. The darkest days of a person's life can be a time of renewal and hope.

Blessings, כן, מאוד

Jeff & Lynn 
  
Prisonist.org: Progressive Prison Project/Innocent Spouse & Children Project are missions of Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc.  

  
Mailing Address: 
P.O. Box 1232 
Weston, Connecticut 06883 
Rev. Deacon Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Director
Lynn Springer, Founding Advocate
Innocent Spouses, Children & Families
(m) 203-536-5508

Rev. Monsignor Joseph Ciccone, Ed D, M Div
Supervising Minister
stjosephmissionchurch@gmail.com
(201) 982-2206

Jacqueline Polverari, MBA, MSW, Advocate
Women's Incarceration Issues
jpolverari@prisonist.org
(203) 671-5139
George Bresnan, Advocate, Ex-Pats 
(m) 203-609-5088
Jim Gabal, Development 
(m) 203-858-2865
Babz Rawls Ivy, Media Contact 
(m) 203-645-9278

Faith & Dignity for the Days Ahead

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

#GivingTuesday Nov. 29, 2016 - A Message to our Great Community of Givers: Thank You for All You Do for Those Who Need it Most!




A Message to our
 Great Community of Givers:  
Thank You for All You Do  
for Those Who Need it Most!
 

https://www.paypal.com/donate/?token=nTid4tx3rXz92G6ZSw5bGkxWviS5_qQJsv0qfZv8Fc1RGh2DeZz9vPlz7w9kYP9BGyMaZm

  We Appreciate Your Donation
 to our Ministry on
 #GivingTuesday or Today

Dear Friends,

One of the things we like most about our ministry is that we get to work with and alongside a Great Community of givers good, caring people who give of your time, energy and resources to make the world a better, more humane place

We know that you contribute to many important causes, and are grateful for your support of our Ministries. These donations enable us to grow, reach out and serve this community for which there is far too little understanding, compassion, empathy and accurate information.  We hope you will consider making a donation to our ministry on #GivingTuesday or today.  Donations can be made by credit card/PayPal here, at the "Donate" button on our site, prisonist.org, or by sending your check payable to: "Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc." P.O. Box 1232, Weston, Connecticut 06883.  Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. is a CT Religious Corp. with 501c3 status - all donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

If you, a friend or a family member are experiencing a white-collar or nonviolent incarceration issue, please contact us and we will promptly send you an information package by mail, email or via Dropbox. The darkest days of a person's life can be a time of renewal and hope. We are here to listen, help and provide coping and healing solutions.

Thank you again for your generosity and support.

Blessings, כן, מאוד


Jeff & Lynn

Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Founder/Director

Lynn Springer, Founding Advocate
Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc.
Greenwich CT & Nationwide
Mailing: PO Box 1232, Weston, CT 06883


jgrant@prisonist.org
lspringer@prisonist.org 
(203) 339-5887

Link to our latest newsletter: http://conta.cc/2gFCZE7

_____________


Progressive Prison Ministries has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Occurring this year on November 29, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday to kick-off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support. 

__________ 
 

If you, a friend or a family member are experiencing a white-collar or nonviolent incarceration issue, please contact us and we will promptly send you an information package by mail, email or via Dropbox.

The darkest days of a person's life can be a

time of renewal and hope


____________


Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc.

Rev. Deacon Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Director
jgrant@prisonist.org
(o) 203-769-1096
(m) 203-339-5887
Twitter
Facebook
Linked In
Pinterest
Google+



Lynn Springer, Founding Advocate, Innocent Spouse & Children Project
lspringer@prisonist.org

(203) 536-5508


Rev. Monsignor Joseph Ciccone, Ed D, M Div
Supervising Minister
stjosephmissionchurch@gmail.com
(201) 982-2206

Jacqueline Polverari, MBA, MSW, Advocate
Women's Incarceration Issues
jpolverari@prisonist.org
(203) 671-5139

George Bresnan, Advocate, Ex-Pats
gbresnan@prisonist.org
(203) 609-5088

Jim Gabal, Development
jgabal@prisonist.org
(203) 858-2865

Babz Rawls Ivy, Media Contact
mediababz@gmail.com
(203) 645-9278   
 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What's the Use of Regret? by Gordon Marino - Guest Blogger


Prisonist.org: Faith & Dignity 
for the Days Ahead
Blogs, Guest Blogs & News



What's the Use of Regret?

by Gordon Marino - Guest Blogger 



We read this Op-Ed in The New York Times (Oct. 13, 2016) and reached out to the author who enthusiastically gave us permission to reprint on prisonist.org.
_____________

A few weeks ago I was sitting poolside in Florida with a friendly retiree who was standing in the warm aqua water, beaming with friendliness. We started chatting, first about his hometown, Pittsburgh, and the many great athletes from there. Soon the conversation pivoted to Vietnam and his experiences as a draftee there. Embarrassed because I was spared from that jungle and moral crucible, I just listened. First it was a few madcap stories about his arrival in ’Nam, but then his thoughts swam along a darker current.

Moving his arms underwater, he recalled: “One time I had just gotten paid and I was gambling, playing poker with this 14-year-old Vietnamese kid. A great kid. He was studying English — wanted to make something of himself! Well, he won fair and square. He cleaned me out of my whole paycheck. I was drinking heavily back then. I picked up my M16, pointed it at him and demanded my money back. He gave me my money.”

All I could do was shake my head and tell him (though it wasn’t completely true) that every ugly deed that I committed had also been fueled by alcohol. As though I’d missed the point, he said: “I haven’t had a drink in decades. But you know I’d give anything to be able to see that kid now grown.” His voice swelled with emotion. “I would get on my knees and ask his forgiveness. I would say that I hope he has had a great life and that I am sorry.”

The otherwise jolly veteran-turned-accountant went on to suggest that he had done worse things “over there.” I hung my head and was thinking that maybe I should apologize to him for having been able and willing to get a deferment, avoiding the harrowing machine that sliced up his sense of innocence.

Not long after, I found myself wide awake one night, waiting for the gods of sleep to descend, when the incubus of a memory of another weak and selfish moment crawled out from under my bed. Sitting on my chest, it may as well have snickered, “O, teacher of ethics, how can you have any moral confidence in yourself after that?”


After what?

Better not to say. No less of an authority on sin and repentance than Dostoyevsky raised doubts about our ability to confess without boasting or making a power grab. Albert Camus, a student of Dostoyevsky, wrote “The Fall,” a book about guilt and judgment in an age when God and forgiveness have been put to bed. Camus’s protagonist, the “judge penitent” Jean-Baptiste Clamence, confesses that “the more I accuse myself, the more I have a right to judge you — even better, I provoke you into judging yourself.”

Perhaps I will commit one fewer sin by refraining from broadcasting my regrets.

In one of Kierkegaard’s most famous and cryptic sentences, he wrote, “The self is a relation that relates itself to itself.” Kierkegaard went on to explain that among other things, we are beings who combine aspects of both temporality and eternity. We are given the task of relating ourselves to our past and to our future. Days gone by are seldom an issue, but how to interpret major missteps that might prompt a person to lose faith in himself is a challenge that shapes who we are.

Some thinkers have portrayed regret as a humanizing emotion. The 20th-century moral philosopher Bernard Williams pointed out that, in instances where a person hurts another through no fault of her own (to use his example, a truck driver who runs over a child), we still expect her to feel remorseful. She will feel the weight of the event more intensely than any spectator. Other people, Williams writes, will try to comfort her, “but it is important that this is seen as something that should need to be done, and indeed some doubt would be felt about a driver who too blandly or readily moved to that position” of comfort.

Others hold the commonsense view that regret over a past event you can do nothing about is a waste of time when you can actually do something instead.

The 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza reasoned that remorse and repentance are pernicious intoxicants that interfere with our understanding: It is out of rashness that we transgress and it is out of rashness that that we pound our heads about our transgressions. Our main aim, he believed, should be to avoid acting on impulse and emotion and to be guided by reason. Nietzsche agreed, calling remorse “adding to the first act of stupidity a second.”

In our therapeutic age, the likely counsel to the troubled former soldier would be “forgive yourself!” But self-forgiveness is a misconception. The only people who can forgive us are those we have sinned against, those we have harmed. Dostoyevsky’s Ivan Karamozov argued that not even God has the right to forgive someone who has tortured and murdered children. After all, God wasn’t the one who was tortured.

I have no authority to forgive someone for mugging you, and I can’t forgive myself for cheating someone else. This is not to endorse endlessly torturing ourselves or pathological guilt. When the super-ego becomes a mad dog, we lose faith in ourselves and in our ability to mend our ways. We can learn to let things go, but before we let them go, we have to let regret get hold of us. Perhaps the old biblical formula is best — repent, ask for forgiveness with a sincere resolve to change your ways.

Regrets come in different forms. There are the faux pas and botched career moves. Just before he tumbled over the falls and out of existence, I asked an uncle if he had any regrets. His brow furrowed, he drew a deep breath as though what he was about to say was hard-going. Then he confessed that the one thing he deeply regretted was selling a certain piece of property at a price that was much too low.


Moral regrets are usually packed up in deep self-storage and we often make a point of remembering to forget them, even while we are awash in pseudo-regrets. I often regale my male friends with the tale of the time during college football pre-season when I started a fight with a coach on the practice field. This incident helped bring an end to my less than glorious gridiron career, and in that sense I regret it, but when I tell the story it is always with a chuckle, as if to say, “Wasn’t I a pirate in my day?”


As Freud and Kierkegaard taught, we always have to consider the affect, the mood with which an idea is expressed, in order to begin to comprehend the meaning that the idea has for us. The memory that the Vietnam vet bounced out of the pool was not of that backward boastful sort, it was a beach ball of sorrow. I suspect that he was a better person for having mulled over and hung his head for his behavior than he would have been had he resolved — what’s done is done and never thought about it again.

Kierkegaard observed that you don’t change God when you pray, you change yourself. Perhaps it is the same with regret. I can’t rewind and expunge my past actions, but perhaps I change who I am in my act of remorse. Henry David Thoreau advised: “Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.” To live afresh is to be morally born again.


Gordon Marino, Ph.D. is a professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN. His areas of specialization include History of Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, and Kierkegaard. Professor Marino is the author of Kierkegaard in the Present Age and co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Kierkegaard. His articles have appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, New York Times Magazine, Wall Street Journal, American Poetry Review, and many other periodicals. Marino is also the Curator of the Hong Kierkegaard Library. He can be reached at:
marino@stolaf.edu
_____________


Comments from Social Media



    Robert Bridges Nicely written, entertaining and educational in that the writer knows a lot about Kierkegaard, Freud and others. I don't know that I agree with: >> In our therapeutic age, the likely counsel to the troubled former soldier would be “forgive yourself!” But self-forgiveness is a misconception. The only people who can forgive us are those we have sinned against, those we have harmed.
    I have no authority to forgive someone for mugging you, and I can’t forgive myself for cheating someone else." <<

    All this seems to assume that you and me are separate. All this seems to assume that by forgiving ones self (which is possible) others are excluded and thats not the case. I not only can but I may need to forgive "myself for harming another." And as for regret we all have them and maybe our task is to learn to forgive ourselves for being human and I think when I do this for myself it helps me to do this with others too...even God
  • Alfred Dorn Regret allows us to study our past actions in hopes of improving our future responses.
  • Robert Bridges I agree Alfred that regret allows or forces us to study our past actions and I've always thought the refusal to grow/learn/change is blasphemy and growing old is teaching me that regrets need to be looked at through kind and wise eyes with the warmth of the heart.

    Laird Ballard Jeff...regret teaches us to avoid continuing on a similar path when seen again. I agree with both Kierkegaard and Thoreau. Good post! 

    Bob Russel (CIPA 08) Hi There; A rather interesting piece written here. When I pray I always find like having a conversation with God plus time for personal reflection. Thank you.

     Sonni Quick: I have a different perspective on the value of forgiveness than what was expressed here and some of that comes from not being a Christian nor do I have a belief a in a God whatsoever which to me is just a teaching passed down through the ages because of man's desire to understand his life. I've been a Buddhist for 30 years which has no outside intelligence with a plan for your life. We generally believe what we are taught and everyone has the right to choose their belief system. I respect that. That being said - forgiveness - I've has this talk many times over the years. There are those who think as long as they ask for God's forgiveness he will save you all all is okay. But as this author also said, forgiveness for whateverbad thing you did does not change what you did. You can think God forgives you but the fact remains that an actual cause was made. The effect can't be just erased. The effect of that cause will happen. People cannot do what they want and think the act of asking for forgiveness will make it better. Buddhism calls it - The Law of Cause and Effect. Christianity calls it - You Reap What You Soow. Nichiren Buddhists take that law very seriously. Christians rarely do because they think asking for forgiveness fixes their transgression.

    No one is perfect, but it is through the mistakes we make, and the genuine perusal of our own nature, thinking about why we do the things we do, and asking ourself why we can't stop reacting to our environment in a negative way that helps us to gradually change aspects of our ourselves that cause us unhappiness: a quick temper, a judgemental attitude, lying about unnecessary things -anything that brings negativity into play. Why do we do it? It happens over and over until we learn whatever lesson there is to learn. When we change something fundamental inside is it will reflect in our environment. Nothing and no one can change who you are or the life that surrounds you. Only you can do that. I don't see, in the lives of the Christians I grew up with, or with the Christians I know today, that their faith has changed their life. Yes, they can proclaim their love of God,they can memorized passages in the Bible, they can tell everyone how important God is to them and go to church for activities several times a week - but they don't understand the meaning of what they practice and apply it to all parts of their life. They are allowed to be hateful and mean against people they don't like. We saw so much of it this past year - because they don't understand there are consequences to what they do. They think God will forgive then. In the end their faith hasn't helped them become better people who make better causes and then have better lives. They think bad behavior is okay and all they wait for is heaven, not realizing the state of heaven and hell happens while they live. They don't have to due to go there.You only need to look at all the miserable and unhappy people there is that gets worse as they age to understand that.Put yourself inside a group of people of any size that understand the law of cause and effect and you will say, "I want what you have."

    Sorry I wrote for so long. It is what I do when I teach a point. My only question for anyone who reads this: ask yourself, Why do you believe what you believe? Who taught you it was the truth? Go to the beginning and question, who taught that person it was the truth. Also, what is your absolute proof?
    Thank you. 



Donations

We are grateful for all donations this past year to our Ministries. These donations enable us to grow, reach out and serve this community for which there is far too little understanding, compassion, empathy and accurate information.  Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. is a CT Religious Corp. with 501c3 status -


https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=R6XKLHXQJ6YJY

all donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. We hope you will consider making a donation to our appeal this year.  Donations can be made by credit card/PayPal here, at the "Donate" button on on our site, prisonist.org or by sending your check payable to: "Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc." P.O. Box 1232, Weston, Connecticut 06883.  We have enclosed an addressed envelope for your use. Thank you.


__________ 
 

If you, a friend or a family member are experiencing a white-collar or nonviolent incarceration issue, please contact us and we will promptly send you an information package by mail, email or via Dropbox.

The darkest days of a person's life can be a

time of renewal and hope

____________


Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc.

Rev. Deacon Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Director
jgrant@prisonist.org
(o) 203-769-1096
(m) 203-339-5887
Twitter
Facebook
Linked In
Pinterest
Google+



Lynn Springer, Founding Advocate, Innocent Spouse & Children Project
lspringer@prisonist.org

(203) 536-5508


Rev. Monsignor Joseph Ciccone, Ed D, M Div
Supervising Minister
stjosephmissionchurch@gmail.com
(201) 982-2206

Jacqueline Polverari, MBA, MSW, Advocate
Women's Incarceration Issues
jpolverari@prisonist.org
(203) 671-5139

George Bresnan, Advocate, Ex-Pats
gbresnan@prisonist.org
(203) 609-5088

Jim Gabal, Development
jgabal@prisonist.org
(203) 858-2865

Babz Rawls Ivy, Media Contact
mediababz@gmail.com
(203) 645-9278