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Friday, September 19, 2014

A White Lawyer's Take on The New Jim Crow, By Brian Moran, Esq. - Guest Blogger

Progressive Prison Project

Innocent Spouse & Children Project

Greenwich, Connecticut

A White Lawyer's Take on The New Jim Crow

By Brian Moran, Esq. - Guest Blogger

Brian Moran is the lead writer of the new, important book, "The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked The American Dream." It exposes in great detail the truth about the Connecticut criminal justice and prison process, and how we are all paying for it.  It also gives specific recommendations as to how we, and our legislators, can make effective changes immediately. We urge all of our friends, colleagues and readers to order and read this book. Please order individual copies through Amazon and group copies through the book website, Thank you. - Jeff 

Last year, after reading Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow – Mass Incarceration In the Age of Colorblindness”, I came away thinking this will go down as one of the most important books of the 21st Century.  In the year since then, nothing has transpired to change my mind.  If anything, the discussion in this country on race has amped up.

It is difficult to put race aside when discussing major urban issues, especially mass incarceration.  However, if you take race out of the equation for a moment and look at our prison system strictly from a policy or economic standpoint, an inexorable conclusion is reached:  mass incarceration is simply bad policy.  It is a terrible deal for taxpayers.  The corrections system is enormously expensive and largely ineffective.  As a consequence, the taxpayer does not get bang for his or her hard-earned tax dollars.  In Connecticut, we pay over $1 billion annually on corrections.  It costs $51,000 annually per bed to house an inmate in our state prisons, the third highest rate in the country.  Yet, Connecticut has a recidivism  rate well above the national average, with close to two-thirds of released inmates returning to prison within two to three years.  This revolving door, directly and indirectly, places further strains on our state’s budget.

If a CEO at a Fortune 500 Company produced the operating results of our corrections system, he or she would face a shareholder revolt.  So why has there been no taxpayer revolt or outcry?  I would suggest it is a product of a lack of attention and the wide acceptance of the mantra that tough on crime policies necessarily serve the public’s desire for safety.

Unlike a lot of the problems we face, our prison system is one that is solvable.  One needs only to look at the proven success of reforms enacted in both red and blue states.  By (1) right-sizing our prison population, (2) using prisons primarily for hard-core, violent criminals and (3) re-investing the cost savings from such right-sizing on drug and mental health treatments and post-release support, we can realize a trifecta of benefits: reduced costs; lower recidivism; and improved crime rates.  Taxpayers should rally behind right-sizing and proven prison reforms.

Such reform also comes with the prospect of a fourth societal benefit--improving the fate of inmates, their families and their local communities.  Upon finishing Michelle Alexander’s book and learning about the dire collateral consequences of a felony conviction (e.g., loss of public assistance and housing), I was left thinking that a released felon would be better off leaving the United States and starting over elsewhere.  That is a sad and sobering thought.  We, as a society, must and can do better.  Rehabilitation is not out of reach.  Prison reform, if done properly, can yield not only the trifecta of benefits, but also better the lives of inmates and their families.  If we fail to act decisively, we risk subjecting yet another generation of urban youth to the revolving door of our current prison system, a door that the taxpayer pays to keep spinning.

Brian E. Moran is a partner in the law firm of Robinson + Cole LLP. He is a civil litigator specializing in antitrust, intellectual property, licensing and other commercial disputes. He has co-written two business books, The Executive’s Antitrust Guide To Pricing: Understanding Implications of Typical Marketing, Distribution and Pricing Practices (2013), published by Thomson Reuters, and E-Counsel: The Executive’s Legal Guide to Electronic Commerce (2000).

He is the founder of The Success Foundation, a non-profit that has run summer study programs on college campuses for low-income ninth graders with college potential. In 2006, the Foundation’s Students Undertaking College Career Enhancing Study SkillsTM Program received a Gold CQIA Innovation Prize from The Connecticut Quality Improvement Award Partnership, Inc. CQIA is Connecticut’s Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Partner.
Mr. Moran received a B.A. with distinction from the University of Virginia and a J.D. degree from the University of Richmond School of Law.

Here's a six-minute video that will start you off on your journey of learning about the real story in the criminal justice system. Produced by Malta Justice Initiative/the Prodigal Project. - Jeff


Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Minister/Director
(o) +1203.769.1096
(m) +1203.339.5887

Lynn Springer, Advocate, Innocent Spouses & Children
(m) +1203.536.5508

George Bresnan, Advocate, Ex-Pats

Michael Karaffa, Advocate, Disabilities

Please feel free to contact us if we can be of service to you, a friend or family member - we will promptly send you an information package by mail, email via Dropbox. 


Comments From Social Media: 

Betsy Hansbrough Boy, do I agree with the fact that this was the most important book I have read in sometime.

Anna Melissa Jackson We won't revolt against mass incarceration on a national level until this is affecting more than the black and brown communities. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Last Blog Before Prison, by Brian Jorgenson - Guest Blogger

Progressive Prison Project

Innocent Spouse & Children Project

Greenwich, Connecticut

Last Blog Before Prison 

by Brian Jorgenson - Guest Blogger

Brian Jorgenson has been a ministee of ours for a short few months.  In our time together, he has taught us new lessons in opening up to faith and reaching out to others for help.  We are honored that Brian wrote this blog post for us yesterday evening before he reported today to the camp at FCI Herlong in California to serve his two-year sentence for a white-collar crime. 


I'm sitting here looking at the pink sunrise pouring over the hills in Reno. The sky may be completely clear but that doesn't remove the dark cloud in my life. On Tuesday morning, in just a little over 24 hours, I will be self-surrendering to federal prison (likely I will already be there by the time you read these words). Titles like felon or fraudster will be my label for the foreseeable future but starting tomorrow, my new title will be inmate. I'm not trying to get in a "woe is me" mentality but this is the stark reality of my situation.

A little background on my situation - in November 2013, I was greeted by a dozen FBI agents raiding my home in the middle of an evening with my wife and four kids. The FBI stormed in with their full garb on (bulletproof vests, armed), announced I was under investigation for insider trading and that they had a search warrant. It's hard to describe the wave of emotions that I felt on that day. I messed up greatly with this mistake but I didn't compound that error by lying to the FBI or the government. I waved the white flag that night the FBI was in my house, admitted to everything and provided a recorded, verbal confession.

Fast forward a few months later to August 2014, I was sentenced to 24 months in prison for committing this crime while working at Microsoft. At Microsoft I was a Senior Manager responsible for treasury investments and capital market strategies. It was a great job and I had a bright career ahead but that all vaporized based on my illegal actions.

The last 10 months have been extremely difficult for me and my family. However, the difficulty has been tempered by the peace and strength God has given us. I am a Christian and have used this time to grow closer to the Lord and be more outward focused by being involved with more community service events as well as serving in the church. However, just because I'm a Christian didn't keep me from compromising my morals/spiritual integrity and committing this crime. I stumbled greatly and unfortunately it's been very public. My photo was on the front page of the Seattle Times back in December when there was a media blitz about how I was charged with insider trading. All of the national newswires picked up the story and there were also plenty of articles written about me.

From that point on, I have tried to use being thrust in the spotlight to help other people. I am trying to use this terrible ordeal, this self-inflicted crisis to share my story with others, recounting the lessons I've learned (and continue to learn) in hopes that I can deter them from repeating my folly. I've also used this experience to be more bold in sharing my faith. I have been blessed with opportunities to lecture at multiple colleges, speak to several professional business groups and even record a message that was distributed to all 100,000+ employees at my former employer, Microsoft.

Here I sit writing these words on the eve of my imprisonment and I have a peace that I know has been given to me by God. This isn't a naïve peace and I'm not delusional of the challenges that lie ahead. I am about to being a prisoner for the next two years of my life. I mentioned that I'm here in Reno which is the prison I've been designated to serve my time but this is 700 miles away from my wife and kids who live in Seattle. I will not be very present in my kids' lives for the next couple years and not be able to provide, protect, and support them as I have in the past. I have been stripped of my wealth, job, reputation, and freedom. My career is ambiguous at best, so the future is very unknown.

In spite of all this, I know that I'm forgiven for making this stupid mistake. My wife, kids, other family and friends have all forgiven me and are wrapping themselves around me and my family during this tough time. Yes, some have distanced themselves from me. Yes, some have severed ties. But the Lord has brought so many new people in my life and I consider the new relationships a huge upgrade versus those that have fallen away.

I realize that I have a duty to use this experience to help others. If choosing whether or not to commit this crime was a test, then I failed it miserably. But my response to this stumbling is another test and I refuse to fail it. I will not waste this crisis. I will not get in the victim mentality that so many people fall into. I have no one to blame for my actions but myself. However, I will not wallow in self-pity nor will I beat myself up over something that is behind me and I've been forgiven for doing.

This might not be a very coherent blog entry but it is what's on my heart at the moment. I will be blogging throughout my incarceration journey at and will share my insights to hopefully provide encouragement to others and prevent anyone else from repeating similar folly. I count myself blessed for having such a loving wife, four amazing children, and a network of family and friends who are loving and supportive.

I want to end with a quote from CS Lewis that gives me encouragement: "No amount of falls will really undo of us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes are in the airing cupboard.... It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present to us: it is the very sign of his presence ." - Brian Jorgenson

 You can read more blogs from Brian Jorgenson on his website,

Progressive Prison Project/

Innocent Spouse & Children Project

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

(o) 203-769-1096

(m) 203-339-5887

Lynn Springer, Founding Advocate, Innocent Spouse & Children Project

(203) 536-5508

George Bresnan, Advocate, Ex-Pats
(203) 609-5088

Jim Gabal, Development
(203) 858-2865

Babz Rawls Ivy, Media Contact
(203) 645-9278   


We are grateful for donations from individuals, religious groups, charities, foundations and the like. Donations can be made by credit card/PayPal, or by sending your check payable to: “Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc.” P.O. Box 1232, Weston, Connecticut 06883. Progressive Prison Project/Innocent Spouse & Children Project are missions of Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. We are a CT Religious Corp. with 501c3 status - all donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. Thank you for your support and generosity.

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.
___________Comments From Social Media:

Barbara Dudley
Business Owner at Awakenings Treatment Services
Written very well and love the message...What most interests me is the reality that there are no mistakes! We certainly don't need the experience, but, as always, it's what we do with it...I am sorry that Brian compromised his value system and grateful that he has chosen to share his humility and recovery...This gentleman's journey can be of importance to so many who are imprisoned one way or another by also doing that which is not who they "really" are...Will look forward to reading more of this journey...

Monday, September 15, 2014

Into The Wild, by David Gordon - Guest Blogger

Progressive Prison Project

Innocent Spouse & Children Project

Greenwich, Connecticut

Into The Wild:
Addictions Beyond Addictions
Surrenders Beyond Surrenders
Freedom Beyond Freedom

By David Gordon, Guest Blogger

David and I met a few weeks ago in Greenwich to discuss his new personal transformation program, Into The Wild.  It was hard not to notice the wonderful changes in DavidHe agreed to write a guest blog for us and tell us all about his transformation story.

Much of what I love about curating this blogsite are the many relationships we've made along the way. While we neither endorse nor edit our guest bloggers, we think we choose wisely. - Jeff


I was many years sober in a 12-Step program had a sponsor and was sponsoring multiple people. I had been through the steps multiple times, led step study groups, held every position in my home group many times over and went to almost a meeting a day. I had a successful career on Wall Street making more money in a year than most people make in 10 years. I had a beautiful wife, a beautiful son and lived in a nice home in one of the richest towns in the country. I became a certified therapist, an Ordained Interfaith Minister and officiated multiple weddings. I was in the best shape of my life, travelled the world, drove the nicest cars, shopped in the nicest stores and had a healthy retirement account. I had arrived! I had reached the mountaintop and as I looked out over all I had, the truth was I was dying inside, alone, scared and in pain. How could this be after all I had done? I had already been in the depths of hell before coming into recovery, surrendered and created a great life. How could I be in a place where I could be in this much pain once again? This was not how the story was supposed to go.

I redoubled my efforts in hopes that if I just 12-stepped a little more, prayed harder, meditated longer, tried the next self-help craze, the next diet, spent more on therapy, reached the next income bracket, had a nicer car, etc., I would reach a clearing and would be able to realize some peace once again. That peace continued to elude me.

Because I was so unconscious to my real problem and I truly felt it was my obligation to pass on a message of hope to newcomers. I kept up a great mask to the outside world that everything was wonderful. I was the guy that sounded great in meetings and my actions backed up my words. I could talk for hours about recovery and the psychology behind it, I could quote our literature word for word and could throw in scripture as well to really impress. At one point I had people literally lining up after meetings just to get my advice (which I had no problem dishing out). But there was always that voice that said, you sound great but you don’t believe what your saying in your heart. It reminds me of a passage from the bible where Jesus said, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”  1 Corinthians 13

Even when I started to realize something was wrong I didn’t know what to do about it. After all I was the guy that had tried everything. In the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 59 it says, “Half measures availed us nothing.” Well half measure was never my problem…my problem was measures and a half. No matter what I tried I wound up right back were I started and I continued to sabotage myself in my life. The contradiction of my outside life and my inner emotional turmoil began to rip me apart and I felt scared and alone.

To kill the pain I turned to more socially acceptable addictions. Many of these addictions are not only laughed about in 12-step circles but are actually supported. The list included work, food, sex, pornography masturbation, exercise, shopping, smoking, gambling, people pleasing, enabling, control, anger and judgment. Yes I even became addicted to 12-stepping, therapy, religion, self-help, prayer and meditation. I did this not to truly connect with others and something greater but to get “relief” rather than real “recovery.” I would put one addiction down just to fall into another…. in essence I was switching seats on the Titanic but the entire ship was going down. I couldn’t sit with myself for 5 minutes before I had to do something to avoid dealing with what was truly going on in me emotionally. Yes I was “sober” from drugs and alcohol but deep down I knew I was not truly emotionally sober. Because these addictions are laughed about by many people in “recovery” no one was going to call me on it and as a matter of fact, many people were patting me on the back for the lie I was living. All along the underlying causes of my problems went unaddressed.

Deep down, I hated myself for what I was doing and knew I was living a double life. I just didn’t know there was another way. I was in trouble and knew that if I didn’t find a solution, eventually I would go back to my addiction of choice or worse. Honestly, part of me wished for it because I was in more pain than I had ever been before in my life…including my using years. It was by far one of the darkest loneliest places I have ever been.  I didn’t hear others talking about having the same problem, never mind having a solution to that problem.  I began to believe that God had abandoned me and that at best I would continue to live a life of quiet desperation or worse or worse die a lonely man.

A while back in my recovery one of my sponsors sent me a tape of a speaker talking about Bill Wilsons letter to other “oldsters” called The final Frontier; Emotional Sobriety. In this letter the co-founder of one of the greatest social movements of our time was admitting that after 23+ years of sobriety and after all he had accomplished, he still felt emotionally unsober. The speaker on the tape was 26+ years sober and wanted to take his own life. Although the tape resonated deeply with me when I received it 10 years earlier, I wasn’t ready to truly do anything about it. But now the inner emotional turmoil finally drove me to my knees and brought me to a place where I was willing to turn around to it.  I was willing to do whatever I had to do to find a solution, even if it meant walking away from everything and I mean everything in my life. Not just the outside things but also even some of my most prized possessions like my investment in who my ego thought I was in the world (Wall Street success, spiritual guru, Minister, guy with long term recovery, etc.). I have found that the thing I am unwilling to give up is always the thing keeping me from freedom.  

One day after prayer and mediation I wrote these words on a piece of paper “Into the Wild I Go!” I never knew how prophetic that short statement would be. I knew it was time to get rid of all the things that kept me from facing what I had always feared…myself! It was time to sit and deal with my emotional demons of the past…the only way out was through. . Not out of virtue but out of pure desperation, I started to dismantle my life (or should I say what I thought life was) one piece at a time. I walked in and resigned my big Wall Street job, I said goodbye to all the 12-step groups I was a part of, to my self-help books, to all my sponsees, to my therapist, to the gym, to the pornography, the masturbation, unhealthy eating, all my other painkillers, to all my friends and extended family and most importantly I said goodbye to David Gordon.

I knew I needed to get out of my familiar surroundings where I could be in control and fall back on my old distractions if things got to hairy. My immediate family and I flew out to California and surrounded ourselves with trusted guides so I could begin my work. We were in a strange city, in a small apartment, with no income, our 2-year-old son and we were scared shitless and it was exactly what I needed.

For the next month I spent 6 hours a day, 7 days a week, beginning to excavate the pain and faulty beliefs that were at the root of ALL my problems. If I wasn’t in the work I was either eating healthy meals or in prayer and meditation. For some reason I had always pictured this process in somewhat of a romantic light…like the monk going up to the mountain top to gain enlightenment and wisdom…but this was nothing like the movies. Without the distractions and painkillers and the mask of who I thought I was in the world, all the parts of who I truly was came out into the light…and I mean everything. The pain, tears, rage, lust, secrets, lies, love, joy, laughter, hatred, superiority, creativity, spontaneity, judgment, rigidity and fear all came rushing out in no particular order.  For the first time in a long time I resigned my position as Head Doctor and allowed myself to be the sickest patient. It was OK to not have it all together and as a matter of fact a pre-requisite for this work was my willingness to let it all fall apart. It was messy and made no logical sense to my practical mind…but deep down I knew healing was taking place.

What I found was that I had deep unhealed emotional pain and an unconscious philosophy about life that was based on false information. When I was a child I can remember making the decision to never feel again because it was just too painful. To survive I created a defense or mask to show the outside world to get what I needed without ever really having to open my heart. After 40+ years of living from this defense, I literally thought it was my real identity…in essence I had forgotten who I was. As a result the pain and faulty unconscious beliefs were literally buried alive and still lived in my body, my subconscious mind, and my soul all these years later. This pain and belief system never went away and still dictated my actions even though I wanted the total opposite in my conscious mind. These actions brought about the very things I feared causing me to have to escape the pain and throwing me back into the cycle of addiction. Without deep emotional healing and unlearning what was in my unconscious, the person I was was always going to have the problems I had.

Sound simple and easy to fix right? Wrong! The problem with the mask or defense is that it actually believes it is saving your life (because at one time it did) and when challenged it makes you feel that your life is literally being threatened. It will actually talk to you in your own voice and use reason to get you as far away from a real solution as possible. The defense never goes down without a fight. In this work I have seen people do incredibly crazy things to sabotage their own healing and defend the way they are killing themselves (in and out of recovery).  They will go to incredible lengths and spend amazing amounts of time and money, on things that will not address the problem (I was one of these people). For me this is why going to meetings, talking to my sponsor, going to therapy once a week and reading self-help books was never going to heal me. I’m not saying it doesn’t work for others but for me I needed something more.

Today through Gods loving grace I am free of ALL my addictions and the work continues. In the words of one of my greatest teacher…”If there is no pain, there is no need for a painkiller. If there is no fear there is no need for escape.  If there is no guilt there is no need for punishment.” I have uncovered the real mystery behind addiction and what I am truly addicted too. I have slowly begun to unlearn the false information I received over the years and continue to heal the pain that kept me in the devastating cycle of addiction on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. I have devoted my life to helping people in pain find a way out. From a place of self-love, self-respect and understanding of who I truly am, I have constructed a blueprint for my life that stems from that truth and live by it everyday. I am able to continually and consistently face down fear and take courageous action in my life. The circle of people I spend time with has gotten a lot smaller but the friendships I have today see me and I see them. I have a new understanding of God and understand that everything I was looking for was right here inside of me all the while. The truth is we are all eternal spiritual beings who are one with God.

This condition of lost identity is not unique to people who only suffer from addiction (although I believe most people are addicted to something). I believe many people suffer from this condition and live quietly and alone in their pain both in and out of 12-step programs, therapy, etc. Beneath the addiction there is always deep emotional pain with its associated broken belief system and unless this is addressed the person will always be looking for some type of escape. It is my mission in life to take my pain and my experience of finding peace, to help others find freedom and the highest expression of who they are. From my journey over the last 24 years, I have created a place and a process where people can come, let down their masks, feel safe enough to release all their pain, false beliefs and remember who they truly are. They don’t need to leave their jobs, go to California or any mountaintop like I did, all they need to do is want the help. This process is appropriately called INTO THE WILD and is a journey of healing that produces radical awakening in people’s lives. 

If you or your loved ones suffer from addiction or have tried other methods that have failed to get you physically and emotionally sober, then please contact David Gordon at 888-885-9517 or email him at You can also visit his website at


Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Minister/Director
(o) +1203.769.1096
(m) +1203.339.5887

Lynn Springer, Advocate, Innocent Spouses & Children
(m) +1203.536.5508

George Bresnan, Advocate, Ex-Pats

Michael Karaffa, Advocate, Disabilities

Please feel free to contact us if we can be of service to you, a friend or family member - we will promptly send you an information package by mail, email via Dropbox.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked The American Dream

Progressive Prison Project

Innocent Spouse & Children Project 

Greenwich, Connecticut

The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration
 Has Hijacked The American Dream

By Brian E. Moran and the Malta Justice Initiative


 We are honored to be among thirty Connecticut criminal justice professionals called together to write and edit this important book. It exposes in great detail the truth about the Connecticut criminal justice and prison process, and how we are all paying for it.  It also gives specific recommendations as to how we, and our legislators, can make effective changes immediately. We urge all of our friends, colleagues and readers to order and read this book. Please order individual copies through Amazon and group copies through the book website, Thank you. - Jeff 

The U.S. has become the world’s leading jailer, housing 22.4% of the world’s inmates, but has only 4.6% of its population.

MYTH: The staggering, budget-breaking price tag of this hyper-incarceration is justified by our low crime rates.

REALITY: Connecticut’s prison population has soared from 3,800 to 17,000 since 1980, mostly with non-violent drug users. Annual spending on prisons now exceeds $1 billion at $51,000/year to house each inmate. Yet, hyper-incarceration has a negligible impact on public safety.

Over 95% of Connecticut’s prisoners are eventually released, most without adequate supervision, and ill-equipped to succeed on the outside. Well over half end up back in prison. We need to stop this revolving door.

The state’s failure to rehabilitate its offenders exacts an enormous cost on our state budget and a devastating human toll that is crippling our cities. The current system is not sustainable.

The Justice Imperative: Reforms in states like Texas and Oregon demonstrate that Connecticut can slash costs, lower recidivism, increase public safety and create better and more productive lives for ex-offenders and their families.

Connecticut, what are you waiting for? ACT ON THE JUSTICE IMPERATIVE.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

White Collar Wives Club, by Lisa Lawler - Innocent Spouse & Guest Blogger

Progressive Prison Project

Innocent Spouse & Children Project 

Greenwich, Connecticut

White Collar Wives Club:

I Know You're Out There

By Lisa Lawler - Innocent Spouse & Guest Blogger 

   Lisa Lawler is a new friend and colleague who writes from her heart on her blog, White Collar Wives Club.  Below is a recent post, "I Know You're Out There," that she has given us permission to republish.  


 Much of what I love about curating this blogsite are the many relationships we've made along the way. While we neither endorse nor edit our guest bloggers, we think we choose wisely. - Jeff



    I'm beginning to hear from women who are finally coming out of the shadows and seeking support.  I commend them for their bravery in coming forward and sharing their stores.  Bravo to you!!!  These women have thanked me for providing a community for them but truth be told it is as much for me as it is for them. Community, fellowship, peer support or whatever you choose to call it is healing and it makes us realize that we are not alone. There is safety in numbers and my hope is that more women will come forward and seek the support they need and deserve.  


     I've spoken at length about guilt by association and the stigma that goes along with being a white collar wife.  The shame and humiliation alone are enough to down even the strongest of women and the women I have spoken with are survivors of the most admiral kind.  Having your life obliterated and then having to begin again, (especially if you are over 50), with a life in ruins is like trying to climb Everest in the deepest of winter naked without food or water! It is survival on an epic scale. Those of you who have never had to experience this kind of hardship may think I am exaggerating but I'm sure those that are experiencing this new way of being in the world would agree. Dealing with the aftermath of white collar crime is as debilitating as it is exhausting.  Rebuilding a life does not happen overnight. It takes years to stabilize emotionally as well as financially.  Seeing our children suffer is the worst part of the fallout. People are so quick to judge without all of the facts but the truth is we are also victims of this horrific crime and should never be judged or punished. 


     I'm sure my very well intentioned and beloved friends wonder why I still reach out to my fellow victims when in their minds I should simply try to move on and away from this chapter of my life.  But the horrors of white collar crime continue because I am STILL living in the throes of the aftermath and will continue to do so for some time to come.  And how can I walk away knowing the pain and suffering other white collar wives are enduring? It is common knowledge among us that this kind of catastrophic event is far reaching and long lasting. There was no place for me to get help and support when I needed it most.  My goal in keeping a light on is that I  want women to know that they are not alone.  That there is a place for them to go to feel safe, heard and supported. The death rattle of our former lives echos in our hearts and souls and that of our children.



     There are those that have little to no sympathy for women who once led a comfortable life and who are now facing such extreme hardships. To those people I say that I hope you never have to experience anything as devastating as what we are experiencing. Through no fault of our own we are left, in many cases, impoverished and without the necessary skills, (more on this in my next blog),  to work a job that will support ourselves or care for our children. For these reasons and so many more, I cannot walk away from this pain and suffering and do nothing.


      Many thanks to the strong women who have come to find me and help me along my way.  We will keep a light burning for others as they try to find their way out of the darkness and into the light. Please join us at The Secret Lives of White Collar Wives on face book, (closed group), or e-mail me at

You are not alone!!


Progressive Prison Project/
Innocent Spouse & Children Project

at Christ Church Greenwich
254 East Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, Conecticut 06830

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1232, Weston, Connecticut 06883

Central Ministry & Office:
Weston, Connecticut

Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Minister/Director
(o) +1203.769.1096
(m) +1203.339.5887

Lynn Springer, Advocate, Innocent Spouses & Children
(m) +1203.536.5508
George Bresnan, Advocate,

Michael Karaffa, Advocate, Disabilities


Comments from Social Media: 


Thank you for this blog, and for your courage to speak out and to reach out to other women in this situation.  We know it's not easy.

As you know, your and our missions to support white collar families are closely aligned.  It would be a blessing to us, our ministees and our readers if you would allow us to reprint this column on our blogsite,, or if you would consider writing one for our site.  We would like to make sure your voice is introduced to as many people as possible - your voice is so authentic and powerful.

Thank you for your consideration.  You can reach me at or feel free to call me - my contact information is at



Rev. Jeff Grant, JD. M Div,
Minister/Director, Progressive Prison Project/Innocent Spouse & Children Project, Greenwich, CT
"The First Ministries in the United States Created to Support People Accused or Convicted of White-Collar and Other Nonviolent Crimes and their Families."

Jeff, thank you for caring enough to share this piece and for the work you do to help others in need of support and understanding. As you know, the families of white collar criminals are often treated as outcasts by society which only adds to our already heavy burden of losing everything and living lives that are beyond recognition. It's not about losing the once affluent lifestyle we enjoyed as it is trying to make enough money to put food  on the table or clothes on our kids backs. My next blog will address the "no pity" sensibility the general public has for those that have fallen from grace. Thank you again for your support and in sharing my work with your audience. - Lisa Lawler

Lisa Lawler
11:37 AM
Jeff, the power of community is strong! After my blog appeared on your site two days ago several women contacted me seeking support. These women are now in the safe hands of a community of  other women who are experiencing the harsh realities of dealing with the fallout of white collar crime.  Their stories are heartbreaking and their struggles epic. They have walked miles alone in a very dark place wondering if they would ever find others like them.  Connections lead to community and I believe one can move mountains knowing they are not alone. As Mr. Rogers so famously said, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." I am honored to be a helper in paying forward my own experience and lessons learned along my way of seeking a way through the nightmare of being an innocent spouse of a white collar criminal.   I welcome all with an open heart and an open mind and I thank you for these connections that you have facilitated.  Jeff, you are a fine helper indeed! It is my hope that more women will come forward and find the support they so desperately need. I wish you continued success in your ministry and look forward to working with you further. - Lisa Lawler

Experienced technology and real estate attorney
Nice blog by Ms. Lawler. The suffering of the innocent spouse is usually overlooked or ignored. Once had witnessed this when a client was purchasing a home from an innocent wife. The seller had to jump through numerous hoops because the government had liens on everything, including a business she had created independently of her guilty spouse.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Salons At Stowe Blog Notes: "Coming Home After Prison: A New Reality"

Progressive Prison Project

Innocent Spouse & Children Project 

Greenwich, Connecticut

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, Hartford, CT
July 17, 2014

Salons at Stowe:
"Coming Home After Prison: A New Reality"
Blog Notes

Featured Guests:

Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div & LaResse Harvey

  These are the notes that were posted on the 
after this incredible event.  It was also taped 
by CT-N, here's the link for the Video

According to the National Institute of Justice, in 2011, 688,384 men and women — approximately 1,885 individuals a day — were released from state or federal custody in the U.S. Returning to the community from jail or prison is a complex transition for most offenders, as well as for their families and communities. Upon reentering society, former offenders are likely to struggle with substance abuse, lack of adequate education and job skills, limited housing options, and mental health issues.
Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div
Jeff Grant is the Minister/Director of the Progressive Prison Project/Innocent Spouse and Children Project in Greenwich, providing religious and spiritual support to people affected by incarceration - before, during and upon reentry from prison. "the first ministry in the US created to support people accused or convicted of white-collar and other nonviolent crimes and their families."
Jeff has a JD from New York Law School and a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary. He sits on a number of boards serving ex-offender communities, including Community Partners in Action in Greater Hartford
He has received the Elizabeth Bush Award for Volunteerism and the Bridgeport Reentry Collaborative Advocate of the Year and has been featured in national media from Forbesto New York Magazine
LaResse Harvey, Director of Strategic Relations, A Better Way Foundation
LaResse Harvey came to A Better Way Foundation nearly a decade ago as a formerly incarcerated person. As ABWF’s Lead Community Organizer, she organized neighborhoods for public safety and staffed ABWF’s advocacy group Alliance Connecticut on pardons reform and against “3 Strikes” out.
She has overhauled ABWF public education and outreach strategies. and led statewide campaigns that
  • Removed the “have you been convicted of a felony?” question from local and state public job applications;
  • Decriminalized small amounts of marijuana and brought a Palliative Marijuana program to Connecticut;
  • Established Good Samaritan 911 protections and expanded access to Narcan for people who could prevent an overdose;
  • Brought back Earned Early Release Credits for non-violent prisoners;
  • Improved protocol for reported sexual assault in prison facilities.

Rev. Jeff Grant
Jeff served 14 months in federal prison in Pennsylvania for white collar crime. He is friends with LaResse and although they come from different backgrounds, they come together on their stories of reentry. They are both advocates and involved with reentry programs. They have been tweeting and discussing tonight’s program with Michelle Alexander, Piper Kerman, Maureen Price-Boreland, and other previous Stowe Center speakers.
Jeff and LaResse were both invited to a meeting at a coffee shop in New Haven, and at the end of the meeting Jeff had to take a train from New Haven to Greenwich, and LaResse offered to take him to the station. They made a stop for hot chocolate and when it was served, Jeff put a lid and sleeve on her cup, and LaResse cried, commenting that she could not remember the last time someone did an act of kindness for her. When you go to prison, are forced into situations like using the bathroom in front of others, etc. – but when you get home, you realize you have been institutionalized; how you relate to others has changed. Found it hard to be around family and others, and relate to things, after prison. He had to go to the Mobil station to use the bathroom for the institutional feeling.
The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked the American Dream is a book being released this fall, and was assembled by an editorial committee of criminal justice leaders in Connecticut.
Everyone goes through a process of re-assimilation and reentry – it moved slowly, like a merry-go-round, where the world kept going. He had a law degree and other resources, but many do not have resources after prison and are dumped on the street. It becomes hard to believe that you lived one life, and are now trying to find acceptance in a new way of life. Many of the people he works with cannot find jobs, houses, services, or even sobriety, so they return to their coping mechanism prior to prison (often drugs) and recidivate. He himself was full of shame and remorse and disbelief in what his life had become, and for almost six months could not look people in the face. He and LaResse try to hold themselves up as examples as of what is possible in reentering society. He attends Alcoholics Anonymous as someone who is 12 years sober, and can sit at a meeting next to someone who has the same experience, support, and motivation, but he is sober and the one next to him has recidivated and is back in prison. For him, there is no clear explanation except for his belief in prayer and God.
Now that there is a focus on the prison system with The New Jim Crow, Orange is the New Black, and US Attorney General Eric Holder’s policies, it is time to consider the system and reentry.
LaResse Harvey
Just because someone has reentered into society and has a job doesn’t mean they have successfully reentered; she is still trying to recuperate from her incarceration and sentence. Most people only see her as a masculine, powerful advocate, not as a woman who is very feminine, emotional, and loving. Was very wounded – spiritually and emotionally – after being abused by men and women in prison. When Jeff put the lid and sleeve on her hot chocolate, she realized that others were there for her – she started to see the humanism of reentry, not just the policy and advocacy. Reentry is about real people, everyday, who are leaving the prison system.
It was hard to return to an active lifestyle after prison. After returning home to New Britain, her family wanted her to rest and readjust, but she had the impulse to be active and productive (clean, straighten up the house). When she was in prison, she was involved with her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop, the organization Phenomenal Women, which established her relationship with her children. She has been out of prison for almost 15 years, however because her son’s husband did not support her, she has not talked to her son in 2 years (he is now 20); she talks to her daughter (now 26) on a regular basis.
She feels she is a rebel by nature and always for the underdog. Mass incarceration and hyper-incarceration have created incarcerated neighborhoods in urban areas, and she now works to help and raise awareness about incarcerated neighborhoods. She has found that in certain neighborhoods like the north end of Hartford, all adults and teenagers have prison records, and the kids have criminal records through the school system. Going to prison is traumatic, as is coming home from prison – people always call out your past crimes and your record. She has PTSD and calls herself and other formerly incarcerated people “veterans” – prison is war, she herself was raped by another woman and abused while in prison. She tells her story because she believes she is in her position to advocate for those who cannot talk. When she talks she gives substance and shares real stories.
Why do we have tanks in communities like New Britain with only 73,000 people? Some feel it is ok but it is not – New Britain is an incarcerated community. We need to stop being ashamed. The Public Wellness Campaign helps communities heal from the trauma of hyper-incarceration. Hiring people with criminal records helps increase tax base and lower taxes. She started as a client of Community Partners in Action and returned to serve on their board, along with Rev. Jeff Grant.
Audience question: Can you explain the pardon process?
  • LaResse: In Connecticut, you can get a pardon while you are still incarcerated, as well as after you’ve been home. A pardon erases your criminal record, but does not erase DMV record unless you request it separately.
  • Jeff: CT is one of the only states with a separate pardons board not overseen by the Governor. There are a few pardons organizations in the state.
Audience comment: As a representative from Reentry Survivors, believes that one of the problems is that people are “ex- this and ex- that” – his organization tries to call those who are released “reentry survivors.” They are now collecting stories of those who have reentered and survived, to be published on websites and blogs.
Audience comment: Purpose of The Justice Imperative book is to educate citizens in non-technical and non-legal language about how serious and devastating the problem of over-incarceration is in our society. He hopes that people will be sufficiently moved that they will develop a constituency that will take positions on legislation (ie. To change public policy in Connecticut), organize themselves, learn about the legislative process, show up and testify at hearings, buttonholing legislators. It is a public education effort designed at action. Public policy will not change on its own and requires involvement and support from citizens. There is bi-partisan support of prison system reform because of the cost to support the system. In other states, the efforts to reduce the incarcerated population have taken root and found success. The goal of the book is to reduce the prison population in Connecticut by 50%. The rate of incarceration is higher in the United States than any other country, including dictatorships.
  • LaResse: Everyone should join Civic Trust Public Lobbying for civic engagement training. Program started in 2010 because we need to change the tendency of looking at the charges on formerly incarcerated peoples’ records; they do not tell the whole story, especially that they may have made a mistake when young and very well may have grown and matured. Recovery is a process – you do not stop recovery and are always fighting not to relapse.
Audience question: In the pardon process, if you committed a crime and are pardoned, do you still have to “check that box”? What do you have to do to get pardoned?
  • LaResse: The process is a long application that requires your name, education and employment background, three references (including one family member), $65 for fingerprinting, listing all of your crimes and the story/situation behind the crime, and an explanation of why you are a good candidate for a pardon (if you are illiterate, you do not have a good chance for a pardon). You then wait for the Board of Pardons and Paroles (a board appointed by the Governor) to respond, which can either say you have been denied, you have been accepted (an administrative pardon), or that you have to attend a Board of Pardons and Paroles hearing (questioning by three from the Board ). Many need to find lawyers, obtain and make copies of all documentation, and certificates, and provide copies for the Board. If you are pardoned, your record is cleared from all databases and records – however that does not clear you from discrimination by others and living with having been incarcerated.
  • Jeff: A pardon is an expungement from all State and Federal crimes. Most go through pardons for economic reasons. Even if you are pardoned, you carry the “emotional baggage” and shame of at one point not having been able to be near children, be a coach for your kids’ teams, etc. You still have to deal with the internalization of having committed the crime. Connecticut has the opportunity to be a leader in pardons and expungement. We have a system that is unique, but we are not giving it its due.
  • LaResse: To take action, you can advocate that those who have misdemeanors for marijuana possession should be pardoned; reduce drug-free zones.
  • Audience comment: As Executive Director of Community Partners in Action, recognizes that we need to underscore that this system is not designed to avoid the victims of the situation. The concern, however, is that our system is structured in such a way that we continue to punish someone for a behavior, prevents them from “pulling themselves up by the boot straps,” and do not help them become contributing citizens. If we do not allow them to reenter society and contribute in a meaningful way, they cannot successfully reenter and become productive citizens. In Hartford, because of the number of schools and “drug-free zones,” everywhere that you sell drugs you are committing a felony. Selling drugs in a drug-free zone adds to the period of incarceration. We are stuck in a place of punishing them, not focusing on logic and helping them reenter.
Audience question: Was there a probation or parole board to help you reenter? How do those who do not have support find jobs, new lives, etc? Are there reentry centers?
  • LaResse: When she was released she had a parole officer helping her, but others are left at the train station to figure out how to survive; they are left homeless. There should be reentry centers in major cities.
  • Jeff: In the federal system, had 3 years of federal probation and his officer helped him transition. In Connecticut, parole and probation are separate and different budgets: parole is paid for by the Department of Corrections, and a returning offender usually goes on to probation which is paid for the judicial branch. Communication between parole and services before prison, and probation, need to be improved because otherwise the services do not help the offender.
Audience comment: Spent almost 25 years behind bars. Is the Executive Director of Phoenix Association, comprised exclusively of ex-offenders who have successfully reentered. They work to facilitate reentry. Several years ago, there were many who could not get to the second round of parole even if the infraction was years prior, they had participated in programs, etc. The process may have changed, but civic engagement is important in giving ex-offenders a chance to complete their sentences and grant pardons to those who are deserving; this will not happen unless there is a large movement. We need everyone to try and effect paradigm shift.
Audience comment: Not only does the US incarcerate a large percentage of its people, we also incarcerate them in some of the worst conditions, worse than western Europe and Canada. In Canada, prisons have full time Chaplains rather than those who come in periodically; they are part of the prison administration. The system is founded on the basis of restorative justice: the purpose of incarceration is to reintegrate people backi into society as fast as possible. The Chaplain system, at the expense of the prison system, is a community chaplaincy and serves as a reentry system that helps offenders reestablish themselves. Community Partners in Action is a great organization doing outstanding work, but there are many services that they cannot offer that community chaplaincy programs could. The John Howard Society has a 200-year history of supporting the humanization of the justice system and reentry. The Society helps recovering offenders by sending them back into the prisons to share their stories with imprisoned people.
  • LaResse: A Better Way Foundation is working to organize people around issues and implement harm-reduction models that have proven to work effectively in urban, rural, and suburban communities so that it does not look as threatening to rural and suburban communities.
Audience comment: Earlier this month was watching a press conference at the While House sharing results from various Department of Labor programs working to get ex-offenders employed. They had small and national eployers talking about hiring former offenders, and one said that while many employers will given offenders a chanc, they are worried about the safety risk. How do we get employers to think more openly?
Audience comment: Her son is in jail and she is very frustrated with the system. She is a social worker and has been advocating for clients her entire lfie, but cannot advocate for her son. He is about to reenter society but the system is such a mess that she has been powerless in helping. He was told that he was approved for Transitional Supervision and entry to a halfway house, but after spending days and days searching for programs, she found that many do not contact you or respond. It shouldn’t be her responsibility to make the arrangements, it should be the responsibility of the prison, but she has no way of communicating with the system or services. She has been cut off from her son, could not add money to his account because his name was misspelled, and does not know what to do.
  • Jeff: The best way to work with the system is contact the warden.
  • LaResse: Communication needs to be improved. Some families contact A Better Way saying that their mail is not being received by their famiy who is incarcerated; that is not right. Family support needs to be encouraged and supported through the system. Reentry councilors are responsible for taking care of those returning to society.
Audience comment: The issue is large and complicated, but one issue we have not talked about is that the engine that drives huge numbers of people incarcerated in Connecticut and many states is urban poverty. Connecticut is the richest state, but we have three or four of the poorest cities in the country. If we do not address the issue in a new, goal-directed way, we cannot solve the 15% poverty rate in the United States; that statistic is far lower in other countries.
Audience comment: is an advocate for Progressive Prison Project/Innocent Spouse and Children Project . For her, like with Harriet Beecher Stowe, it is really a human issue – just like Jeff and LaResse’s friendship, and what she felt when her husband Jeff was in prison. When Jeff was in prison, she and her daughter were in poverty and were grief stricken. Those who look at her and think she has never faced poverty are wrong. When she listens to LaResse she cannot express the pain she feels inside. No girl or woman should have to experience what she did, being raped by another inmate. “We are all bound by our brokenness, and the sooner we gather together and focus on these issues,” the sooner we can make change – it is about souls, and grace, and mercy, and people, and taking people by the hands. This is what we need to bring our children up with. She wants everyone to leave the Salon and reach out to someone – "we are bound."
Audience comment: As an ex-offender, is humbled that so many people came to share in the conversation. Was incarcerated fr 25 years and served 17.5 years. His heart goes out to the victims of his crime and does not forget about them. When factories left Connecticut and left unemployment, crime and poverty increased. Resources are not funneled into the cities and where they monney is needed. He is a third generation incarceration and works to help with successful reentry. Lack of resources, lack of quality education in the community, and laws are problems – but the underlying issue is racism. We see laws like cost of incarceration, which can continue to take money from you after reentry for the cost incurred by the government during your incarceration for up to 20 years after release. This keeps certain groups of people in a perpetual state of poverty and disenfranchisement. Much of this happened under the Rowland administration, and these issues still need to be addressed. This conversation reminds him of when William Lloyd garrison tried to get people to understand the importance of abolition and horrors of slavery, but he did not find success until he brought on Frederick Douglass. “We are here tonight with the Frederick Douglass’.”
  • LaResse: Cost of incarceration should be unconstitutional. We also need to eradicate holding cells/rooms in schools which are incarcerating students.
Jeff: There is something psychological about seeing someone commit a crime that looks like you – a white person has a hard time seeing someone who looks like them commit a crime and admit that crime happens in their communities and effects everyone.
  • Read The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked the American Dream (fall 2014).
  • Hire someone with a criminal record.
  • Revise the pardon process which is not equal in sex, race, ethnicity, or crime.
  •  Encourage people to submit their stories as “re-entry survivors” to help change public policy (submit to
  • Participate in public hearings, lend your voice to change public policy.
  • Join Civic Trust Public Lobbying. 
  • Learn about decriminalization of marijuana and expungement of misdemeanors.
  •  Establish reentry centers in major cities and towns.
  • Connect parole and probation and improve communication between departments.
  • Take action and organize grassroots groups in your community to bring awareness and create change on issues:
    • Call legislators
    • Write letters
    • Attend hearings
    • Learn more about the Phoenix Association
  • Learn more about the John Howard Society as a model community chaplaincy program (Canada, England, Norway, Denmark).
  • Explore A Better Way Foundation (ABWF) resources. 
  • Allow prisoners to vote.
  • Improve family reunification process – families need to speak up and build support.
  • We’re all bound by our brokenness – this is a human issue – do something!
  • Re-examine the laws around cost of incarceration.
  • Address the underlying issue of racism.
  • Eradicate holding cells in schools.
What your reactions and takeaways from the Salon? What questions do you still have? What will you do to take action? Share your ideas, reactions, and plans for action in the "Comments" section below. 

Link to a PDF of the Takeaway from the Event:


Jeff Grant said...

Lynn and I want to express our thanks to Katherine Kane, Sonya Green, and all at the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center for your hospitality, and for the time and dedication you have given to the topic of mass incarceration this year at Salons at Stowe. And, of course, we want to give very special thanks to our great friend and fellow freedom fighter, LaResse Harvey, who once again showed everyone present why she is the top social justice advocate in all of Connecticut (and everywhere).

The packed house at the Salon was only a glimpse of how topical and cutting edge our discussion really was - our email and social media outlets have been flooded with inquiries from persons accused or convicted of white-collar and other nonviolent crimes and their families from all over the country, who want and need a voice, comfort and direction. For example, currently on our blogsite ( is a guest blog from Lori Dooley, a woman in Mississippi who came to us last year - her husband is in prison for a white-collar crime. At first she was frightened to leave her house. She sat inside with the curtains drawn. Less than a year later, she is speaking out at her church and writing blog posts in her own name. She is miracle of trusting God, letting go of shame and living in the truth.

This fall, a book is coming out titled, "The Justice Imperative: How Hyper-Incarceration Has Hijacked The American Dream." It is a project of Malta Criminal Justice Initiatives which invited thirty criminal justice professionals around Connecticut to write and edit the book (I am honored to be among them). I urge everyone to pick up a copy and read how together we can can and will make a difference.

Thank you once again for this opportunity to be of service.



Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div
Minister/Director, Progressive Prison Project / Innocent Spouse & Children Project
at Christ Church Greenwich, 254 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, CT 06830 USA

(o) +1203.769.1096 I (m) +1203.339.5887 I / /

Affiliates: First Baptist Church of Bridgeport l Jesus Saves Ministries Bridgeport l Cathedral of Praise C.O.G.I.C. Bridgeport

Stephanie said...
Thank you Jeff for sharing your story last week. It was such an inspiring Salon! Where will "The Justice Imperative" be available for purchase?
Jeff Grant said...

I'm checking into this. Please email me at Thanks.