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, September 17, 2016

Progressive Prison Ministries Information Package

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




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





2016 Mid-Year Report 
_____________


A Spiritual Solution



In the 10+ years we've been working with white-collar/nonviolent individuals, families and organizations before, during & upon reentry from prison, this is our simple belief and conclusion: Those who adopt a spiritual solution evolve and cope more successfully than those who do not!


We offer spiritual solutions for material problems, and strive to engender and evoke understanding and compassion in all people for all people. 





Since January 2015 

We Have Served Over 135 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, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. We communicate with these families before, during and upon reentry from prison in person or by phone, email, Skype, FaceTime or GoToMeeting, or via CorrLinks if in a Federal prison.



Our Mission



Our experience shows us that the overwhelming majority of individuals and families with white-collar/nonviolent incarceration issues of us are suffering in silence with shame, remorse, and deep regret. Many of us have been stigmatized by our own families, friends and communities, and the business community. Our mission is to form, nurture and grow a new integrative and supportive community of individuals, families and organizations with white-collar and other nonviolent incarceration issues, shepherding them with care, compassion and empathy through the entire criminal justice process to new and transformed lives of dignity, respect and authenticity.



Our Program



Confidentiality. As clergy, our communications and counseling are strictly confidential. For this reason, we are often the first people that families call when they are ready to end their isolation and reach out for help. This is also a major reason that many attorneys, parole and probation officers, etc. allow their clients to maintain relationships with us. 

I.     I.         Before Prison:



Overview. Unlike most attorneys, prison coaches and prison consultants, we take a long-term approach to the individual and family's health, happiness and well-being - our calling is to see individuals and families all the way through the process to authentic, dignified and productive lives.

Pastoral Care/Spiritual Counseling.  Utilizing our professional backgrounds and real world experience in religion, law, business, reentry, addiction & mental health recovery, family work, social ethics, and advocacy, we are the only organization and ministry in the country created and committed to guiding individuals, families and organizations. We engage in direct pastoral care in person and by telephone/ Skype/ FaceTime/ GoToMeeting/ mail/ email (many Federal prisons now have email).



Prison Consulting, Preparedness & Readiness. We have strategic partnerships with and oversee the most ethical, compassionate and effective prison coaches and consultants in the country, so that together we can provide all the practical and spiritual steps for survival and success in prison, and throughout the journey. 


Family Counseling. We have dedicated staff and volunteers specifically dedicated to the needs of innocent spouses, families and children.

Women's Incarceration Issues. The fastest growing sector of white-collar incarceration issues, we have an advocate who specializes in women's needs before, during and after prison. 


Sanctuary & Refuge. We are a safe and secure place of sanctuary, privacy and refuge where individuals and families can discuss matters of shame, ostracism, grief, remorse, etc. with complete confidentiality, and can learn, grow and evolve into the spiritual beings God intends for them to be. 


Substance Abuse, Other Addictions & Compulsions, Mental Health.  Not only do we collectively possess decades of experience in recovery and reentry, but we partner with the very best drug and alcohol counselors, interventionists, MSW's, therapists, psychiatrists, psychopharmacologists, etc. 


Expert Testimony. We can provide expert testimony services to criminal defense teams to assist them in presenting a truthful and balanced package to the court. Utilizing our unique and unparalleled bios, we can also document the individual's and family's fresh start in writing, and in testimony before the court.   



Dispute Resolution & Mediation.  Individuals and families who are experiencing issues in the criminal justice system often have many other pressing matters including financial problems and disputes, family disruption, etc.  Using our unique experience and backgrounds, we can assist in resolving these matters.


II.         During Prison:


Pastoral Care/ Spiritual CounselingFor those in prison, we engage in direct pastoral care in person and by telephone, CorrLinks, and mail. We meet with spouses and family members to assist them through these difficult, critical times.

Clergy Visitation. Many prisons afford clergy special visitation privileges such as one-on-one private sessions in private attorney/clergy meeting rooms, access on non-visitation days, etc.  

Newsletters, Blogs & Articles. We also send in to prison copies of our newsletters, blogs & guest blogs, and helpful articles 

Family Counseling. We know first-hand how difficult it is for families to be away from their loved one - and for the incarcerated to be away from family. We provide consistent and continual assistance throughout the darkest days of incarceration. 
 
Funds Assistance/ College Scholarships. American Baptist Churches USA has awarded us a grant to provide one-time stipends to individuals or families with white-collar or nonviolent incarceration issues to be used for short-term expenses and for college scholarships. We continue to seek out other compassionate benefactors.

Reentry Preparation. Working with some of the best known reentry nonprofits in the country, we start the reentry and reintegration process long before release.  





III.   III.      Upon Reentry From Prison:

Pastoral Care/ Spiritual CounselingIt comes as a shock to most people that their return home is actually the most difficult part of the process. Poorly managed and unsafe halfway houses, home confinement, embarrassing ankle monitors, parole and probation officers who may or may not be kind, dramatic career and financial changes, families in upheaval, loss of old friends and family, etc. This is the time most need to rely on us and our growing community of similarly situated fellow travelers.

White-Collar/Nonviolent Support Groups. We have founded the country's first confidential online white-collar/ nonviolent support groups. As these support groups are being run by clergy as part of a program of pastoral counseling, we consider them to be confidential and privileged.

Advocacy/Community Building. We are at the forefront of building and advocating for an integrative, supportive community of individuals, families and organizations with white-collar issues who were living in isolation and suffering in silence. We offer opportunities to all to help and lead in this noble endeavor. 

Wrap-Around Reentry Services. We have access to and work with some of the best reentry nonprofits in the country, who can provide behavioral services for emotional issues, drug and alcohol counseling, domestic violence, soft-skills training, housing, etc. And many accept Medicaid for approved services. 

Pardons, Clemency, Commutation of Sentence. We believe that individuals and families should start focusing on reentry, life after prison and a pardon from the first moment of the process.  Certainly not everyone will obtain a pardon, but life will continue to evolve and grow more successfully by engaging in a Culture of Pardons. Each state has its own rules and procedures, as does the Federal government. We work with state and Federal pardons/clemency experts to ensure the best results.

Career Counseling and Placement.  Certainly, this is one of the topics that most concerns individuals and families from the outset and throughout their journey. We have assisted many in the daunting process of letting go of the old life, getting into radical acceptance of the new reality, thinking through the endless possibilities, overcoming both internal and external obstacles, and implementing a new career plan. Many employers, who might otherwise not give a felon a second chance, will entertain referrals from clergy. We are working with world renowned executive and outplacement specialists to develop an integrative white-collar career rehabilitation program. Coming soon! 

Volunteerism.  We have found that service to others is not only the most effective method to grow, evolve and transform, but also gets us out of our own prisons of self. We advise all to obtain meaningful volunteer positions as soon as possible, and help place individuals with charities and nonprofits throughout the country.




Outreach



Boards. It is our honor to have served on a number of criminal justice/prisoner reentry-related Boards including Family ReEntry, Bridgeport & New Haven, CT; Community Partners in Action (formerly the Connecticut Prison Association), Hartford, CT; and Healing Communities Network, New York, NY. Jeff has also served on the Editorial Board of the book, The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked the American Dream, Southport, CT, and on the Advisory Board of the Phoenix Association, Guilford, CT, Reentry Survivors, LLC, Bridgeport, CT, and Creative Projects Group, Los Angeles, CA (Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet").  Lynn has served on the Boards of Pathways, Greenwich, CT and the International Aids Charitable Foundation, New York, NY, as an active volunteer at Friends of Nick, Bronx, NY and Reentry Ministry, Bridgeport, CT, and as a Deacon & Senior Deacon at the Second Congregational Church, Greenwich, CT. 



Awards.  Jeff was the recipient of the Elizabeth Bush Award for Volunteerism '12, and the Bridgeport Reentry Collaborative Advocate of the Year Award '13, '14 & '15 and Professional of the Year '16.  JustLeadershipUSA recognized Jeff as one of fifteen "National Leaders in Criminal Justice."  Jeff has been invited to attend the prestigious Collegeville Institute spiritual writing workshop at Louisville Seminary, fall '16.



Speaking Engagements. We have spoken at some of the most important and influential venues in the United States, including The Nantucket Project, Nantucket, MA;  Greenwich Leadership Forum, Greenwich, CT, the Corrections Ministries and Chaplains Association (CMCA) Correctional Ministry Summit, , Wheaton College, IL; Salons at Stowe, Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford, CT; Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York; Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT; and many prisons, reentry programs, houses of worship and other venues.



Sermons. Preaching frequently at churches and houses of worship provides an opportunity to share our work and spread the message of compassion, forgiveness and redemption.



Media. Articles featuring our ministry have appeared in Forbes, Inc., The Huffington Post, Absolute Return/ HedgeFund Intelligence, Business Insider, New York Magazine, Fairfield County Business Journal, Reentry Central, Weston Magazine Group, Weston Forum, Greenwich Sentinel, Greenwich Time, The Hour and others. We have also been interviewed on radio and television programs.

Additional Advocacy/Press.  We further advocate for criminal justice reform by providing quotes, sound-bites and non-confidential information to the press.



Blog.  Authoring, curating and editing the important and widely read blog and site, prisonist.org, we focus on national and international criminal justice advocacy/ministry themes. Exclusive articles and guest blogs are posted by some of the world's foremost experts in their fields.



Social Media. We are a major presence in criminal justice reform on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, etc.


 Recent Speaking Engagements, Sermons, Articles, Interviews & Awards

Louisville Seminary, Collegeville Institute Pastor Writing Workshop, Louisville, KY, Upcoming 2016 


United Methodist New York Annual Conference Board of Church and Society presents "I Was in Prison and You...," Speaker/Panelist, Upcoming 2016 


Business Insider, “This is What It’s Like When the 1% go to Jail, According to a Couple That Ministers to Their Families,” , Subject of Article, 2016, http://www.businessinsider.com/jeff-grant-lynn-springer-ministry-helps-white-collar- criminals-2016-7

Unitarian Church in Westport, Westport, CT, Guest Sermon 


Huffington Post, “The Spiritual Solution for Re-Entry After Prison,” Video Interview, New York, NY http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-danielle-crumpton/the-spiritual-solution- fo_b_10345628.html 


LoveTalk, WNHH 103.5 FM New Haven CT, Radio Interview, New Haven, CT https://soundcloud.com/new-haven-independent/lovebabz-lovetalk-jeff-grant-6316 


First Baptist Church of Bridgeport, Sermon, Bridgeport, NY 


Bridgeport Reentry Collaborative, Professional of the Year Award 2016, Bridgeport, CT 


Weston Forum, "Former White-Collar Criminal Turns Focus to Spirituality and Helping Others," Article, Weston, CT http://progressiveprisonproject.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-weston-forum- former-white-collar-criminal-turns-focus-to-spirituality-helping-others-by-gregory-menti- reporter.html

Men of Faith Magazine, “Interview with Jeff Grant,” Cover Story, New York, NY http://progressiveprisonproject.blogspot.com/2016/05/men-of-faith-magazine-cover-story- interview-with-rev-jeff-grant-director-progressive-prison-project-by-hurley-morgan-senior- managing-editor.html

Women Walking By Faith Magazine, “A Chat with Lynn Springer,” Article, New York, NY http://progressiveprisonproject.blogspot.com/2016/05/women-walking-by-faith-magazine-a-chat- with-lynn-springer-may-june-2016-edition.html 
2 


The Hour, “Ministry Counsels People Who Committed White Collar Crimes,” Subject of Article, Norwalk, CT http://www.thehour.com/news/norwalk/ministry-counsels-people-who-committed- white-collar-crimes/article_9dd3c64b-7ce5-5c76-987f-53fc8cf6db8d.html, 


Real Life Real Faith Radio, Radio Interview, New York, NY http://www.blogtalkradio.com/realliferealfaith/2016/05/11/real-life-real-faith-welcomes-rhonda- bolden-and-reverend-jeff-grant

Weston Kiwanis, Speakers, Weston, CT 


Weston Forum, “Kiwanis Talk: Aftermath of White-Collar Crime,” Subject of Article, Weston, CT http://www.thewestonforum.com/61422/kiwanis-talk-aftermath-of-white-collar-crime, 


Christ & Holy Trinity Church, Good Friday Sermon, Westport, CT 


Emanuel Episcopal Church, Sermon, Weston, CT 


Inc., “What Successful Entrepreneurs and Successful Criminals Have in Common,” Subject of Article, New York, NY, http://www.inc.com/tim-askew/white-collar-criminality-addiction-and-the- entrepreneur.html,

Greenwich Sentinel, “A Worldly Fall, A Spiritual Ascent,” Subject of Article, Greenwich, CT https://www.greenwichsentinel.com/2016/01/07/the-jeff-grant-story-a-worldly-fall-a-spiritual- ascent/, 

 

The Lisa Wexler Show, WGCH 1490 AM Greenwich CT, Radio Interview, Greenwich, CT https://soundcloud.com/jeff-grant-jd-m-div/lisawexlershowwgch021716,

LoveTalk, WNHH 103.5 FM New Haven CT, Radio Interview, New Haven, CT https://soundcloud.com/new-haven-independent/lovebabz-lovetalk-jeff-grant, 


Making Rain, “White-Collar Criminality, Addiction and the Entrepreneur,” Subject of Article, New Rochelle, NY http://www.corporaterain.com/blog/white-collar-criminality-addiction-and-the- entrepreneur,

The Vision, the Newspaper of the New York Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, “White-Collar Ministry: From Riches-to-Rags-to-Redemption,” Article Author, New York, NY http://www.nyac.com/files/tables/content/3217050/fields/files/e2e8f21ad3f84b2d80abe72d723a 6d0c/2015_12_thevision_high-res.pdf,

Darby & Friends, WGCH 1490 AM Greenwich CT, Radio Interview, Greenwich, CT https://soundcloud.com/jeff-grant-jd-m-div/darbyfriendswgch121515, 


Ready For Freedom?, Life After Prison In Connecticut, Speaker, Hartford Library, Hartford, CT http://ct-n.com/ctnplayer.asp?odID=12221, 


Bridgeport Reentry Collaborative, Bridgeport Reentry Advocate of the Year Award 2015, Bridgeport, CT

Greenwich Time, “Group Offers Help to Innocent Families,” Subject of Article, Greenwich, CT http://www.greenwichtime.com/printpromotion/article/Group-offers-help-to-innocent-families- of-6205583.php,

The Brick Church Prison Ministry, Presenter, New York, NY


Norfield Congregational Church, Martin Luther King Jr. Sunday Sermon, Weston, CT https://youtu.be/3JL9wyHLs20

____________

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. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Minister/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. Fr. 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   

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Meeting Alger Hiss: Reflections by a White-Collar Criminal, by Jean Valjean 24601 - Guest Blogger


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

Meeting Alger Hiss: 
Reflections by a 
White-Collar Criminal 
 
by Jean Valjean, 24601 - 
Guest Blogger
 
 
The author (nom de plume) is a member of our Confidential White-Collar/Nonviolent 
Online Support Group, the first in the nation. 
It meets weekly on Tuesday evenings. 
 __________________



“...Thousands of us who have made a mistake recognize the extraordinarily high price for committing a felony——
the sentence not spelled out at sentencing so to speak. The price we pay goes way beyond incarceration and humiliation.  We lose our place in society, our professional careers, friends and sometimes our families . 
We live our lives with the  constant reminder of our mistakes.  Society is not forgiving or felony friendly..." 
 ____________





Many of us have encountered someone when we were younger, only to have that chance meeting take on real meaning decades later. Such is the case with my meeting  Alger Hiss. 

For those of you of a certain age,  Hiss was a Harvard trained lawyer and a foreign service officer in the FDR administration. He was actively involved in the creation of the United Nations and was deemed a rising star in the State Department. He became famous when he was convicted in 1950 of espionage in the 'Pumpkin Papers' case. 

Hiss spent 4 1/2 years at my prison 'alma mater', Lewisburg FCI. He did his time in the penitentiary; I did my time in the camp!

I crossed paths with Mr. Hiss in 1974 when I was fresh out of graduate school.  Hiss was working as a paper salesman for a company in downtown Manhattan where I was temporarily assigned by the company's outside accounting firm.  I had a passing knowledge of Hiss due to his connection to Richard Nixon. In the post mortem of Nixon's presidency the press liked to link Nixon's nastiness early in his career to his merciless persecution of Hiss. 

When I met Mr Hiss, he displayed a solemn dignity despite his unfortunate notoriety.  He was clearly a man of substance and intellect as he smoked his pipe and peppered us young accountants with questions about our careers and work. I remember being puzzled by the fact that this obviously capable and smart individual was now vastly underemployed as a salesman.  One couldn't help being stunned at his new circumstances.  Gone were the trappings of success, power and prestige. At the time, I wondered how he dealt with such a drastic change. What was it like to see his education and experience become totally useless?  What was it like to wake up everyday with the knowledge that his career and reputation, the product of decades of hard work had been destroyed.

Little did I know that I would find myself in the exact same place after being convicted of a white collar crime.  I have found myself asking the same questions forty years later.   And I am certainly not alone in asking these questions.  Thousands of us who have made a mistake recognize the extraordinarily high price for committing a felony----the sentence not spelled out at sentencing so to speak. The price we pay goes way beyond incarceration and financial restitution..  We lose our place in society, our professional careers our networks, our friends and sometimes our families .  We live our lives with the constant reminder of our mistakes. Society is neither forgiving or felony friendly. 

Just like Mr Hiss, we learn very quickly that our life has become a whole new ball game with rules that are sometimes incomprehensible.   By absolute necessity we begin a process that can take years as we rebuild and re-purpose our lives. The disbarred attorney, the doctor who can never practice again, the trusted advisor that can no longer be entrusted all have been busted - thrown off the team. We become ostracized if not outright exiled. 


Virtually alone, we are shrouded  in the dense 'fog of felony' to find a new path forward.  We begin to connect with new values, new friends and search for forgiveness of ourselves and others. I assume our journey is much like the one Alger Hiss made.  In this process one's identity is transformed and place in the world is reset.  Our old life evaporates like mist in the early morning. But it is through this process that we make peace with ourselves, those we love and what we once loved.

I think that when I met  Mr Hiss that he had successfully completed his journey. He made peace with where life had taken him----his new normal was accepted and he lived life on new terms and with new values. Through the process of self renewal  he was able to move on from his life in diplomatic corps to something totally different.  In his later life, he wrote books, became a sought after lecturer and even was reinstated by the Massachusetts Bar. But it was a long, arduous and uneven process of redefining his life. We are all on this well traveled road. 


Those of us who have committed a white collar crime, come home to start a unique and existential journey. But we are not alone. We can learn from other fellow travelers like Alger Hiss and countless others.
   
I encourage all Fellow Travelers to add your comments to this blog. 


_____________

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. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Minister/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. Fr. 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   

Friday, September 2, 2016

Letter to Neil Young, by Jeff Grant. It's All One Song.



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


Letter to Neil Young

by Jeff Grant 

"it's all one song"
- Neil Young




 I was playing some Neil Young songs on guitar for 
Lynn and a friend of ours today, and remembered 
this blog that I wrote and posted in August 2014. 
We all read it together and I was compelled to
post it again. i hope it resonates. - Jeff   
 

Dear Neil Young, 

I am writing to you let you know how you've inspired my transformation story and prison ministry.  

Since I am publishing this letter on our blogsite, and I have no other way of contacting you that I can reasonably think of, I think it's fair to let our readers know that we've never met, I do not know you, and the closest I have ever been to you is the eighth row of a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young concert in the Nassau Coliseum in 2002. 

And I have no real understanding of your life other than  articles and biographies.  I feel particularly connected to Jimmy McDonough's biography Shakey. It's release in 2003 comforted me in the early days of my recovery - just after my  bottom from prescription narcotics and just before my arrest. 

Most early mornings at about 3:30 am, I sit at my computer listening to one of your albums or another (this morning After the Gold Rush) and channel your essence & work ethic (or at least what I project it to be). I hear the song in my head - the muse - and I try to follow her where ever she leads. 

Most days, she leads to something useful or serviceable. On rare occasion, something much more.

I'd been trying to describe this song-in-my-head phenomenon for decades, when in one brief moment, you gave voice to what I was unable.  On Crazy Horse's, Year of the Horse, just before, "When You Dance I Can Really Love," someone from the audience yelled out, "they all sound the same."  And your reply was for the ages: "it's all one song!"  

It's all one song.  Of course.

That's why I know a Neil Young song when I hear it.  Because you write the songs that you hear in your head and are not afraid for them to be good songs or bad songs, famous songs or just plain old Neil Young songs. They are all part of the one big song playing in your head and that have been playing in your head for the past fifty years or so.  

That's how I feel every morning.  That there is this song in my head and it needs to be written - it needs to be sung. A song that was repressed for so many years by trauma, drugs, poor judgment, shame, guilt and remorse. A song that I now express in my writing, music, work and life.  Some days it's just a plain old song that I sing.  Some days something really special happens and reminds me how I've been blessed. 

Thank you Neil.  Long may you run. 

Blessings, 

Jeff

PS one of my favorites (among many):

"Old man take a look at my life
I'm a lot like you
I need someone to love me
the whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
and you can tell that's true."
-Old Man, Neil Young
_____________

Comments from Social Media:

Cynthia Cloney 1st
Addiction counseling
Hi Jeff we met at the Faith Behind Bars conference this past April. My name is Cynthia and I am an ex-offender who shares a similar story (your song if you will:) thanks for writing a great letter to an iconic man. He inspires me as well. Have a great day and I wish you blessings as you minister to the forsaken and forgotten.



Kym L Pasqualini 1st
Director at Missing Media Solutions
So glad you shared this! You inspire!

Matt Hodel 1st
Student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Love this, Jeff. Look forward to seeing you sometime soon!


  • Jeff Grant, JD, M Div
    Minister/Director, Progressive Prison Project, Greenwich, CT, The First White-Collar Ministries in the US prisonist.org
    I recently received an email from Jimmy McDonough, who advised that Neil Young did not approve of his biography, Shakey. It is another miracle of my journey that, even with this book's difficulties, it was written, found me when I needed it most, and offered me inspiration in the life of Neil Young. Neil, I'm dropping my E down to D right now. Jeff

Anonymous. Love this Jeff....very well put.  


Lynn Springer. My Jeff, I'll love you the whole day through... Your, L. 

Lori Dooley. This special ministry that has created this unique family that can come together to sing a song of oneness that we are not alone. The audience reading the stories of white collar crime may think “they all sound the same.” We know though, “it’s all one song.” One song of redemption, forgiveness, grace and love. A song we will cherish because it is close to our hearts. I feel blessed that you have this special song to sing and you want it to be heard. Keep writing, keep singing, and keep blessing so many by your ministry. I am listening to every word! 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. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Minister/Director
jgrant@prisonist.org
(o) 203-769-1096
(m) 203-339-5887
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Lynn Springer, Founding Advocate, Innocent Spouse & Children Project
lspringer@prisonist.org

(203) 536-5508


Rev. Fr. 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