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

Friday, July 26, 2013

Visiting My Brother In Prison, By Alison Grant

Progressive Prison Project

Greenwich, Connecticut 
 

 Visiting My Brother In Prison, By Alison Grant

  
When my brother told me he might be going to prison, I couldn't believe it.  In my eyes he could do no wrong.   I had been holding him up on a pedestal since I was a little girl. Even when he did things I didn't agree with, he was my rock. 

This time, however, he did something really wrong.  And even with that knowledge he was still the person in my broken family that I could turn to for really solid advice.

When I drove up to the prison, I remember a high fence with barbed wire at the top.  It had looked like every other prison I'd ever seen.  Only this one wasn't the movie set of the Shawshank Redemption.  It was a real prison that my brother was now going to live 15 months of his life in.  Not only would his once free life be full of rules and regulations, but so would everyone who visited him. 

I wasn't allowed to bring any paper money into the prison because maybe I had gotten it from someone who uses drugs and left a residue on it.  Or perhaps it would be a way of bringing drugs inside.   If I remember correctly I was permitted to bring $5.00 in change in a clear bag. Who knew that ziplock had so many uses? This money was to be used to buy food from the vending machine should we get hungry during our visit. 

After sitting for a while staring at the door my brother was to come through, I felt a great deal of discomfort.  I didn't want to be there anymore than he did.  The door finally opened and out he came: still my rock of a brother only this time he wasn't dressed in a custom tailored Hugo Boss suit. He was wearing a tan prison uniform. Being a very strapping, handsome guy, I have to say he looked pretty damned good in it.  

He acted very differently than the brother I knew though. Instead of the big wide smiled teddy bear hug I would normally get from him, he was very methodical.  His movements seemed very slow and subtle as if to make himself invisible.  As he later explained, he did not want to draw any attention to himself.  And that he acted the same way on the other side of the door.  He just wanted to do his time without any trouble. 

We talked for awhile. About what I really don't remember? He ate a microwave hamburger from the vending machine that he asked me to go and get.  Our visit was pretty much over before I knew it.  He told me that every time he goes back through that door they do a cavity check to make sure he isn't bringing anything back inside with him. To this day that has stuck with me. 

I couldn't tell you how it was to live on the other side of the door.  Only he can, but this I can tell you.  My brother has had a monumental spiritual awakening in his life since that time. He has turned into a giver rather than a taker.  

He is still my rock.  And even though he is not perfect, he will always be the person I turn to for solid advice.  

My sister Alison is an award-winning advertising copywriter - she says that this was the most difficult thing she's ever written.  

Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div
Director, Progressive Prison Project/
Innocent Spouse & Children Project
Greenwich, Connecticut

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

(203) 339-5887
jgrant@progressiveprisonproject.org
jg3074@columbia.edu 

3 comments:

  1. This is absolutely beautiful! I am so grateful that I've had the opportunity to know you, Jeff. You are a blessing to all accorded that privilege.

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  2. If only more people,by that I mean we Christians could see this very thing and be aware of the change that some go through during their incarceration I believe more people would be open to helping those of us who try to minister to these lost souls. Thank you for this posting and good to know you are working for us instead of satan.
    In Christ
    Rev. Jim

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  3. I thank you so much for your tremendious efforts and massive sharings with matters that touch the hearts.I sincerely want to share and call to your awareness that we have a new Public Charity Organisation. based right here in New Jersey that needs your support. It is the FGBMFI NORTHJERSEY CHAPTER PUBLIC CHARITY ORGANISATION; we are aspiring to provide sustainable skilled job income for all certified rehabbed drug addicts and ex-convict in our community without any form of discrimination of class, religion, colour or gender etc, thereby making the state of New Jersey and the entire United States of America a lesser crime community because when these ex-offenders are gainfully employed they become their own boss and would not find any need to go back to crime and avoid imprisonment that is gulling billions of dollars from the Federal Government Annually and lessen the economic burden and stress to the unsuspecting financially overburdened tax payers hence they will be earning sustainable income support their communities, pay their taxes, provide adequate food, clothing and housing essentials for themselves, providing for families and surpport their immediate communities. I believe this method is a holistic approach to a lesser crime society and for us the faith based an absolute expression of second chance and forgiveness to ex-offenders, because the Bible made us all to know that all of us have sinned in one way or the other and come short of the glory of almighty God but in His infinite mercy forgives us then why can't we forgive one another? That is what we have going on right here, we want to you to get involve and assist because we know you can push this oppurtunity highier with your networks and links if you put your weight to it. we need great mind like you and please don't backdown, we can be reached 24/7 by this contact Telephone number = 8624524722. email(fgbmfi_northjerseyeastorangearea@yahoo.com) Wishing you the very best in your endeavor. may the almighty God be with you. It is for us all and by us citizens of America. best of Regards

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