Progressive Prison Ministries: The First Ministry in the United States Created to Provide Support for Individuals, Families and Organizations with White-Collar and Other Nonviolent Incarceration Issues. Greenwich CT & Nationwide

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Wolf of Wall Street On Christmas Day: The Wolf, Sheep & Goats: Matt 25:31-46

Progressive Prison Project

Innocent Spouse & Children Project

Greenwich, Connecticut


The Wolf of Wall Street On Christmas Day:
The Wolf, Sheep & Goats: Matt 25:31-46

These actual comments and replies from
 Forbes concern Mark Hughes' review of
"The Wolf of Wall Street"
and its opening on Christmas Day. 
Please feel free to add your thoughts and comments 
to this conversation either below 
or online at Forbes.  
__________________________





Sunday, December 22, 2013

Presenting at Wheaton College, CMCA Summit, May 2014!

Progressive Prison Project

Innocent Spouse & Children Project

Greenwich, Connecticut

We are honored to have accepted an
Invitation to Present at IMPACT 2014
The Correctional Ministry Summit
Wheaton College, Illinois
May 29th - 31st, 2014
Please join us.

Wishing a healthy, happy & blessed holiday season
to all of our dear friends & family.
 









2014 Workshops

We want to thank these outstanding servant leaders for their willingness to  share their skills and expertise with us.  Our workshop presenters are hands-on practitioners who understand the challenges and blessings of serving those impacted by incarceration.
TRACK TITLE PRESENTER
Chaplains Effective Mentoring to the Incarcerated: Changing the Lives of Returning Citizens and Impacting the Institution’s Culture Lettie Car, Maryland Correctional Institution for Women
Chaplains The Genesis Project – Lifer’s Reentry Program Ron Evans, Jackson Correctional Institution
Chaplains The Three Faces of Prison Chaplaincy Jeff Hinshaw, Jay Vincent, Kathy Williams, New Castle Correctional Facility
Chaplains Building a Foundation for Faith-Based Volunteer Engagement Tammy Holland, Texas Juvenile Justice Department
Chaplains Evaluating Correctional Chaplaincies and Correctional Chaplains Dale Pace, Christian Jail Ministry, Inc.
Chaplains S.P.I.R.I.T: A Program for the Transformation of Self-Concept in the Incarcerated Henry Tysor, HT Ministries
Chaplains The Impact of Religious Programming on Sex Offenders Kathy Williams, New Castle Correctional Facility
Church Leaders Prison Reform: How to Get Your Voice Heard Craig DeRoche, Justice Fellowship/Prison Fellowship
Church Leaders Ministering to Transform White Collar Criminals and Families through Christ Jeff Grant, Progressive Prison Project/Innocent Spouse & Children Project
Church Leaders Getting to the Root of the Work Problem LaToya King, Jobs for Life
Church Leaders Empowering Churches for Correctional Ministry Harold Dean Trulear, Healing Communities USA
Church Leaders Sex Offenders in our Churches Bob VanDomelen, Broken Yoke Ministries
Church Leaders How to Assimilate Recovering People into the Church Mark VanderMeer, New Community Church
Correctional Administrator Integrating State DOC and Community Based Case Management Systems for Effective Reentry Allan Barsema, MPOWER
Correctional Administrator The View from the Warden’s Office Jack Cowley, Alpha USA Prison & Reentry Ministry
Correctional Administrator Cultural Bias in the Treatment Industry – Diversion to Treatment Gina Evans, MN Adult and Teen Challenge
Correctional Administrator Creating Impactful Faith-Based Programming Karen Swanson, Institute for Prison Ministries
Jail/Prison Ministry Non-Religious Education In Prison as Christian Ministry Will Andrews, doctoral student, Chicago Theological Seminary
Jail/Prison Ministry Achieving Your Growth Goals through CMCA Richard Barnhart, CMCA
Jail/Prison Ministry Loving Inmates to D.E.A.T.H (Dignity, Eternal Security, Absolute Truth, Teaching, Heaven) Pamela Bolding, Neighborhood Christian Center
Jail/Prison Ministry Using Dialogue for Discipleship Craig Curtis, E.C. Brooks Correctional Facility
Jail/Prison Ministry It Takes Money! Dan Hanneken, In2Action
Jail/Prison Ministry International Leadership Angel Hernandez, Grace Covenant International
Jail/Prison Ministry Encountering Religious Pluralism in Correctional Ministry Michael R. Smith, Sr., Federal Bureau of Prisons
Jail/Prison Ministry Strategic and Operational Ministry Expansion and Funding Using Social Impact Bonds Alphonso Spence, Making a Difference International
Jail/Prison Ministry Programming for Justice Involved Women: Gender-Specific and Faith-Based Karen Swanson, Institute for Prison Ministries
Jail/Prison Ministry A Biblical Cognitive Approach to Understanding & Addressing Addiction & Relapse Prevention Robert Vann, A Strictly Biblical Perspective
Jail/Prison Ministry Faith and Character Based Programming: Creative Concepts for 21st Century Prison Ministry Michael Vosbrink, Florida Department of Corrections
Jail/Prison Ministry Criminal Justice Trends: An Overview of State Criminal Justice Reforms and How to get Your State on the List Jesse Wiese, Justice Fellowship/Prison Fellowship
Juvenile Don’t Forget Incarcerated Youth Steve Lowe, Pacific Youth Correctional Ministries
Juvenile Changing the Youth of Today for Tomorrow Victor Marx, All Things Possible Ministries
Juvenile Hot Topics in Juvenile Justice Advocacy Heather Rice-Minus, Justice Fellowship/Prison Fellowship
Juvenile Strategies for Working with High Risk Youth Gareth Unruh, Youth for Christ Juvenile Justice Ministries
Juvenile How to Start an Effective Juvenile Detention Center Ministry Gareth Unruh, Youth for Christ Juvenile Justice Ministries
Reentry Specialists Welcome Mentor Female Inmates Annie Goebel, Daughters of Destiny
Reentry Specialists Purposeful Neighboring: Creating Reentry-Ready Communities Steve Gordon, Strategic Reentry Group
Reentry Specialists Engaging Resistant Clients: Interaction Skills Dan Hanneken, In2Action
Reentry Specialists Different Insights on Prison Ministry Rev. Joyce Pugh, Reid Temple AME Church
Reentry Specialists The Biblical Blueprint for Re-Entry Michael Swiger, True Freedom Ministries
Reentry Specialists Building a Legacy of Strong Families Catherine Tijerina, The Ridge Project
Reentry Specialists Community Recovery Mark VanderMeer, New Community Church
Reentry Specialists Build Better Boards Debbie Walsh, Child Evangelism Fellowship
Reentry Specialists Keeping it Legal in 2014 Dennis Walsh, The Micah Project
Reentry Specialists Collateral Consequences: The Social and Moral Costs of Perpetual Criminal Punishment Jesse Wiese, Justice Fellowship/Prison Fellowship

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

On That Day, a sermon by Hopeton Scott, Senior Reverend of the First Baptist Church of Bridgeport CT

Progressive Prison Project

Innocent Spouse & Children Project 

Greenwich, Connecticut

"On That Day"

A sermon by
Pastor Hopeton Scott

 Pastor Scott is the Senior Reverend
of The First Baptist Church of Bridgeport
126 Washington Avenue, Bridgeport, Connecticut 06604.
It is a home church of our Prison Ministries.

                                                                                                                                                                 

December 8, 2013


“On that day, the root of Jesse will stand as a signal to the peoples. The nations will seek him out, and his dwelling will be glorious.” Isaiah 11:10.



In our bulletin there are two images. 
 

We have had them appearing in the bulletins for several weeks now. They are images that are also in the each set of stained glass windows in our Sanctuary. They are the Greek letters - Alpha and omega, the first and the last letters in the Greek alphabet. And they have come to symbolize for us the first and the last, the beginning and the end.



As we came to the end of the Christian year last month and now launch into the new Christian calendar, we are reminded that God is at the beginning and at the end of all things. Jesus is indeed referred to as the “Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end” in the Book of Revelation. (Revelation 1:10)  We are reminded that God is beyond time and seasons and space but that God has chosen to be active in the arena of human history.


Advent is a time to remember that we are living in the last days. We are in the ‘in between times’, the time after the first Advent and before the final Advent, when God’s work will find its culmination, its glorious conclusion.   So in Advent we say: “Jesus has come, Jesus is coming, and Jesus will come again!”

This is a time of waiting, of expectancy, a time of preparation. This is a period of hope, of looking for the fulfillment of God's promise of salvation, of the restoration God’s creation.

The Bible, both Hebrew and Christian scriptures, is filled with diverse and wonderful images of the end, of the culmination of God's purpose. Some of the most vivid pictures are in the Book of Revelation, but at the start and at the end of the Christian calendar, we are presented with that richness of Biblical images as we rehearse the pageantry of the salvation history.

Our Scripture reading today from Isaiah is one such passage. Isaiah paints a picture of the end, of the end times. There is indeed an image of judgment, of the defeat of evil but the dominant theme is of reconciliation and peace and wholeness....”The wolf will live with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat; the calf and the young lion will feed together, and a little child will lead them.”  Isaiah 11: 6

Most Wednesdays, Minister Jeff Grant and I meet for conversation to catch up on the ministry and projects in which he is engaged. We review our work and often talk shop and share theological reflections. In our conversation this past week, we talked about wholeness. Jeff asked me whether wholeness was a goal for individuals or for the community as a whole. My response was that God’s goal is wholeness for both the individual and for the entire world. The goal is wholeness, a translation of the Hebrew word, ‘Shalom’. It means: integration, well- being, alignment, harmony, fulfillment, completeness.


At personal level, there is a need for the body and the spirit to be in harmony; we need to be at peace with ourselves; we need to experience the absence of inner turmoil, a lack of anxiety, no restlessness and no dis-ease.


In the New Testament Story of Legion, we find the story and the healing of a person who was fractured, who was ‘many’. We want to dismiss him as a mad man, a crazy person, a paranoid schizophrenic. But we are all like Legion. He is a symbol of humanity.  We are fractured; we are multiple personalities; we are disjointed,  out of alignment. When Legion encounters Jesus, the miracle that Jesus performs leaves him 'clothed and in right mind'; he is now ‘dressed up in Jesus Christ’ and integrated - at peace, with a proper alignment of body and spirit. Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39




This is what God intends for you, for all of us –“to be clothed and in our right minds”. Our spirit and your mind need to be in harmony. We need to experience “shalom”, peace, completeness, wholeness.


Minister Jeff and I also spoke as well of wholeness in community. Image of integration in the created order is embedded in the pictures of Biblical wholeness, of the end time.

Peace is not merely the absence of violence and fear, but the sense of oneness. God’s goal is an inclusive community where none is excluded, where everyone is valued. God’s Shalom envisions a time when all persons regardless of gender, race, nationality, wealth or poverty, disability or ability or other classifications are treated equally and are embraced in the community.


You see, conflicts arise because we are focused on securing our own rights instead of seeking the common good. In our disjointed state we want to be in control and we want preferential treatment for ourselves and for our kind. We wish to inflate our position at the expense of others.

The evils of apartheid and Jim Crow, racism and bullying have their roots in the desire of individuals wanting to suppress others. Our insecurities lead us to engage on behaviors that deny others their humanity and lead us to use violence to get our own way. We cannot see the divine in others and so we deny them and ourselves the wholeness God grants to all. We forget that all of us are made in the image of God and we refuse to see the face of God in each other. The inclusive community however has the ingredients of mutual respect and empathy. It is built on love and patience and tolerance.

“On that day, the root of Jesse will stand as a signal to the peoples. The nations will seek him out, and his dwelling will be glorious.”  They won’t harm or destroy anywhere on my holy mountain. The earth will surely be filled with the knowledge of God as the water covers the sea.” Isaiah 11:10, 9.


I also had a very stimulating conversation with the visitor we had in church last week. She had the perennial question that most of us have: “Why do I suffer when others lead successful lives, others who are less religious?”  It is the question that generations of believers have struggled with. It is the question that the Book of Job tries to answer.



My answer to our guest was that we are out of alignment. Sadly our focus, even in the church, has been on the material rather than the spiritual. We have forgotten that we are both spirit and material and our primary concerns have been about the transient and temporary things of our existence.

So we are concerned about how much money we have. Whether we have the latest gadgets or wear the trendiest fashions or meet the prevailing ideas about image and appearance. We have forgotten that the material things are only for a time; they fade, they wither; they lose their luster their cache; they grow old


I might wait outside an Apple store for the latest smart phone, but in a couple of years, that phone will be passé and I will need to upgrade again! The temporary and the ephemeral things of this year cannot satisfy our hunger for meaning and wholeness. We build our lives on the sand when our emphasis is on the material.


No matter how much we accumulate in this world, we will have to leave it behind when the spirit leaves the body. Our focus then should be on the eternal, on the spiritual because that continues even after our physical passing, after we turn to dust. Will my spirit be deformed, be diminished, be small after the material is no more? Will I have spiritual poverty and lack completeness?

This is not to say that our suffering, our pain, our heartaches, our lack of resources are not important. The miracles Jesus did and continues to do in the church demonstrate that our quality of living in of concern to the creator God. Jesus healed the sick. He fed the hungry. He relieved anxious minds. He helped those in emotional distress.

But he says to all: "Seek first the kingdom of God and it's righteousness and all these things will be added to you." Our primary desire should be spiritual. When we are in that place where we are at one with God and with ourselves, clothed and in our right minds, we are in a position to address our material needs. We will find that it is not the end of the world if we do not have the latest gadgets and wear the trendiest fashions. We will find that there are resources to help us meet our basic needs of food and shelter. We will find that that there are persons who love us just as we are. We will find that there are shoulders that we can cry on. We will find that we can find comfort from others around us. We will find that we are not alone in our pain and in our grief!

When our focus is on the spiritual, on the eternal, we can understand Paul saying that the kingdom of God is more than meat and drink, it is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

All week I have been haunted by a song by Michael Jackson. 
                   Don’t know how it fits into this sermon, but here it goes:                 

 "Man In The Mirror"


I'm Gonna Make A Change, For Once In My Life
It's Gonna Feel Real Good, Gonna Make A Difference
Gonna Make It Right . . .

As I, Turn Up The Collar On My Favorite Winter Coat

This Wind Is Blowin' My Mind
I See The Kids In The Street, With Not Enough To Eat
Who Am I, To Be Blind?
Pretending Not To See Their Needs
A Summer's Disregard, A Broken Bottle Top
And A One Man's Soul
They Follow Each Other On The Wind Ya' Know
'Cause They Got Nowhere To Go
That's Why I Want You To Know
I'm Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I'm Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
(If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place)
Take A Look At Yourself, And
Then Make A Change



Change can come to us. Transformation can be ours if we re-order our priorities. Shalom is our destiny. “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me!” On that day it won't be my possessions but the vitality of my spirit. How integrated will I be? How at peace will I be with God and with myself? How at one will I be with the created order? How I unencumbered will I be from self-centeredness, from hate, from prejudice, from greed, from the material things of life? Will I be clothed and in my right mind?

Nelson Mandela is a wonderful example of the triumph of the spirit over the material. Imprisoned for almost thirty years he never gave up hope. He longed to see a day when oppression would cease in South Africa. He suffered all kinds of indignities but yet he grew to love those who oppressed him. He forgave his enemies. He forsook revenge and chose the path of reconciliation. Today he is being remembered as a giant, as one who changed the course of human history.

What of us? Where is your focus? What is most important to you? In this season of waiting of expectation, how will that day find you?

God is working His purpose out
As year succeeds to year;
God is working his purpose out,
And the time is drawing near;
Nearer and nearer draws the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.

What can we do to work God’s work,
To prosper and increase
The brotherhood of all mankind,
The reign of the Prince of Peace?
What can we do to hasten the time,
The time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled
With the glory of God
As the waters cover the sea.
 
 Amen.
_________________
Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div
Director, Progressive Prison Project/
Innocent Spouse & Children Project 
Christ Church Greenwich
254 East Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, Connecticut, USA 06830

Assoc. Minister/
Director of Prison Ministries
First Baptist Church of Bridgeport
126 Washington Avenue, 1st Fl.
Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA  06604
 
(0) +1203.769.1096 
(m) +1203.339.5887
jgrant@progressiveprisonproject.org
jg3074@columbia.edu 
progressiveprisonproject.org

Sunday, December 8, 2013

In Prison For The Holidays: Real Letters


Progressive Prison Project
Innocent Spouse & Children Project 
Greenwich, Connecticut
In Prison for the Holidays:
Real Letters 
 
Lee Gutierrez is serving eight years hard time in the NYS prison
system for a single DWI - an
accident in which someone got hurt badly.
We had one week with him before he reported to impart

some spiritual principals of survival & success in prison.

Lee's first letter, The Night Before Prison
is one of  our most requested blog posts.
________________
November 29, 2013: Dear Rev J & Lynn - 
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!  It was so nice to hear from you and sharing a little of your life with me.  It sounds like the clan at your home yesterday were blessed to spend time together.  You were very generous of heart to welcome so many with open arms. 

As for my correspondence to you, please feel free to publish it on your site.  If you think my words will help, I am living testimony that your guidance and experience is so valuable to a soul such as mine who is entering a dark and unknown time through the penal system. 

You and your wife Lynn reinforce my strength that that we don't have to do it alone.  God is always with me and a long as I show how grateful I am for each small miracle that I experience HE will see me through this. "This too shall pass." 

Lynn's prayer for me is inspiring, makes me want to share it with some of the souls here who have befriended me.  In my next AA meeting I will pass it around to whoever would like to read it. 

In orientation the newcomers go to F-cell block, it is the pre-introduction into Gen Pop "general population." The COs have little respect for us with each interaction they make it clear that we are less than who we are and are the bottom of the barrel. I don't take it personally because they assume you are a career convict and there is no hope for you. I am mixed in with drug dealers, murderers and rapists so I understand their attitude, but this attitude is very counter productive if their real purpose is to rehabilitate and introduce inmates back into society.  

On a good note several COs in my block noticed that I didn't fit in, so they actually took the time to read my record. Realizing that I am here because of a single DWI due to my ALCOHOLISM, they changed their attitude towards me.  They call me out of my cell to talk to me and find out who I really am, they sensed the true remorse of my actions. I have been at ease ever since. 

I did see my first act of violence to an inmate from the COs.  Two says after I was placed in F-Block the cell next to me houses a young man who was very upset - He was unable to call his family the night before, and had been put in "keep lock" for the day not sure why.  He became very frustrated and started to ask for the CO. Getting no response he began to yell for the CO who responded by yelling obscenities to him to shut up.  The inmate continued causing the guard to head head to his cell and told the other CO to open the cell.  I couldn't see but it seemed that the CO was pushing & punching him into submission.  He couldn't gain control so he started throwing him about in his cell.  Once he realized that he couldn't handle him he called for a "Code 26," moments later a platoon of 13 COs swarmed in to subdue him.  It was very sad for me and the others. I won't go into details but as he was carried off I could see the damage to him.  Very sad. 

I really believe in God and the brief but intense lessons you gave me.  I have been spreading the word to many of the frustrated souls here about managing their spiritual pain and help them understand that they shouldn't be upset by things they can't control.  I really think it is helping. Thank you for you words of encouragement and prayers.  God bless you.  Have a peaceful day. 

Lee
PS. Again if you feel my words can help other please publish them.  If you have specific topics you like me to describe to you about my journey please let me know. 
__________________

November 22, 2013: Dear Lee, 

I received your letter this afternoon - thank you for for vivid and of course disturbing images of your first days in the prison system.  My wife Lynn is praying for you and your family right now as I begin this letter to you - I will pray for you later during my spiritual time.  I will not post or share your letters with anyone unless you give me explicit permission - it is entirely up to you.  I can tell you that your first letter to me, the one that you sent the evening before you left, is among the most read posts on my blog.  It is powerful but honestly nowhere nowhere near as powerful a the letter I received today. No pressure or persuasion is intended - I only have your interests first and how it fits in with your spiritual development and path to freedom through mind, body and spirit.  Helping others, of course, is the highest order and greatest path to freedom. 

I was saddened to hear about the deplorable conditions and feel for you - but of course you know that I am not surprised.  I say this because I want to continually remind you that you are not alone.  You are part of a great community now - we are bound by our brokenness and our suffering - and only through it will we be able to communicate and reach across vast voids to understand what each other is going through.  Deplorable conditions, inhumanity, needless pain - and in the midst of it a flower always - always - grows through the rocks.  Always.  If you look for it you find it in the smallest of places inside of you - and in the unlikeliest of places in other men too.  Kindness, compassion, caring.  It's there just waiting to be found - to be revealed.  It requires patience and trust - but it is always there. It is how we found each other only one week before you had to report to prison - and how you could trust a stranger enough to learn skills to survive your early ordeals. It's God. And there is more to come.  More journey - more sadness and more joy in unlikely places.  Just be quiet and watch for it. 

By now you've learned that there are levels to your learning - that the process is so much more complex than you ever could have dreamed of.  That you are developing new instincts and intuitions, relying on almost a sixth sense about things.  This will all change again and again.  You are in a process not a place.  A process.  Stay fluid and keep alert to changes around you and in you.  Keep learning and observing.  The things you think you understand one day can be different the next (like the stock market). Just know that it keeps changing & so do you.  Just keep your humanity and cherish it.  Prize it above all else and you will be fine.  Respect all things & everything - especially yourself.

Our ministry is going wonderfully.  It is growing in the 'hood in Bridgeport and in the white collar sectors too.  We have new churches signing on, new articles written about us - a new one coming out this week on Forbes.  We have our first innocent spouse test case before a Federal Judge in New Haven - she's the estranged wife in a very large financial crimes case.  If we are successful, it will be the first time in history that a Federal Judge will modify a temporary asset freeze to give a non-defendant innocent spouse access to her own assets in a financial crimes case.  It could be a banner case in recognizing the rights of innocent spouses & children. 

We are having 15 people here for Thanksgiving next week - old friends & new friends.  Some recovering alcoholics, a woman & her children whose husband/father is in prison, a friend of mine & his wife & 3 month old son - they are Episcopal Priests, a Christian couple, my wife Lynn's former husband David, and their daughter (my step-daughter) Skylar who is home from school.  Basically a mish mosh of people brought together in a new form (or old form) of family and community out of love & caring. It should be wonderful.  We will sit around our table and I will think of you - I promise. 
I spent one Thanksgiving in prison, and Lee - it was my most memorable Thanksgiving.  Probably not my most pleasant one - but my most memorable one.  The one I was most present for, I was most awake for.  I needed that Thanksgiving in the prison dining hall to teach me how to be thankful - and I was thankful for every bit of it. 

I am thankful for you.  You are a touchstone for me.  Keep writing, praying. Mind, body & spirit everyday. Your friend, 

Jeff 
________________
November 22, 2013: Dear Lee, 

I hope you don't mind, Jeff shared your letter with me.  It prompted me to pray for you and I want to write a prayer for you to share with you:

Heavenly Father, 

We come to you today asking for your special mercy and care for your beloved child Lee.  Please dear Lord, help Lee feel your incredible love for him during these difficult days, this love that will strengthen and sustain him.  Father, we ask that Lee reach for you, yearn for you and anchor his soul in YOU.  We ask that Lee entrust all concerns to you dear Heavenly Father, in prayer; and pray sincere prayers of gratitude to you very, very often; because we know dear Lord that GRATITUDE makes miracles possible. We thank you dear Lord for this day you have created, for the air we breathe, for the love we feel in our hearts, for friends, for letters. We are so very grateful for every blessing you bestow upon us.  AMEN. 

Peace to you Lee.  Lynn
_________________

November 20, 2013: Hey Jeff - 
Happy Thanksgiving!  Hope you and your family are doing well. Looks like I am in my final destination for the next 6-9 months.  I have been classified as "maximum" candidate; and was sent here.

Coxsackie is a "super" max facility, where "offenders" are in their perspective cell about 18 hours out of each day.  This will continue until the "program committee" designates what programs I will be participating in.  Having already been taken through orientation, I am deposited in F1-Block until further notice.  

I have to admit that I was very insecure when I was first incarcerated in the Nassau County Correctional.  Never having done prison time before I didn't know what to expect. The 3 days in "quarantine' was a very grim start - the 72 hour hold is for introduction into the system, taking several medical examinations to see how I am physically as well as mentally.  The hold is a dark, dank cell block that has very little ambient light from the sun.  Confusing you as to know whether it is day time or night. There is no clock provided, adding to the confusion of time.  Giving the appearance that time is standing still - seconds seem like minutes, minutes expand to hours and days never end.  The dungeon of cells in a single row seems to go on forever.  The cells themselves are hauntingly gray, unkempt layers of dull colors that are chipping away.  Showing years of neglect in a lifetime of misery. 

The personal facilities dressing each cell are tarnished and corroded, forcing one to stand hovering over the toilet.  Drab and colorless meals are pushed through the cell door, a liquid I call "bug juice" is poured in plastic cups from a metal bucket. Now I know why they say the expression, "don't shit where you eat."

I will send you more correspondence of my journey as time goes on.  Your counseling and experience has made the 1st leg of the journey most bearable and for that I am grateful.  

Please write back with news of the outside world!  Again, Happy Thanksgiving. 

Your friend, Lee
_______________
Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div
Director, Progressive Prison Project/
Innocent Spouse & Children Project 
Christ Church Greenwich
254 East Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, Connecticut, USA 06830

Assoc. Minister/
Director of Prison Ministries
First Baptist Church of Bridgeport
126 Washington Avenue, 1st Fl.
Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA  06604
 


(0) +1203.769.1096 
(m) +1203.339.5887
jgrant@progressiveprisonproject.org
jg3074@columbia.edu 
progressiveprisonproject.org