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Monday, May 23, 2016

Update: 8th Annual InterNational Prisoner’s Family Conference Dallas, Texas, By Carolyn Esparza- Guest Blogger

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Faith & Dignity for the Days Ahead
Blogs, Guest Blogs & News


Update: 8th Annual InterNational 
Prisoner’s Family Conference
Dallas, Texas

By Carolyn Esparza- Guest Blogger




A picture is said to be worth 1000 words.  However, in eight years hundreds of pictures have never fully captured the experience of a conference that really isn’t a conference at all.  In fact, several years ago one attendee proclaimed, “This isn’t a conference; it’s a community!”  So, when I put the “facts” about the 8th annual InterNational Prisoner’s Family Conference, May 6th -8th, in writing, and even include a few photos taken there, something intangible will be missing for those who weren’t there to absorb the fullness of the experience!  But, let me give it a try!

The 8th annual gathering of prison family members and many who support prisoners and their loved ones through various organizations—ministries, advocacy groups, academia, social services—began with a cheery pre-conference Dutch treat dinner on May 3rd!  Greeting old friends and meeting newcomers is always lively!  Lots of chatter and laughter punctuated this year by international perspectives on our very odd presidential campaign!  After all, the next president will influence laws and policies impacting prison families.


The conference opened with a typical somber welcome, followed by an inspirational prayer and a serious report from the conference Advocacy in Action Coalition task force on having drafted a resolute White Paper affirming coalition members’ concerns about the deplorable state of mass incarceration--a continuum spanning from the school to prison pipeline to youth sentenced to LWOP and extending to life-ending prison hospices and executions.

The serious opening panel presentation was intended to set the focus, but not the tone for the next three days.  So, as the opening session ended and networking began before adjourning to various breakout workshops, attendees were pensive and somewhat subdued!  That tone wouldn’t last long!

By the time attendees gathered in the ballroom again for lunch, the chatter and laughter was challenging to interrupt to announce the first keynote, and as the days progressed, the chatter and laughter intensified, reinforced by warm embraces and tons of group “selfies” to serve as reminders of the amazing unique experience.

More concretely, workshop topics ranged from grief recovery to strengthening family relations to becoming effective advocates to overcoming re-entry challenges.  Powerful keynotes included international guests from Wales and New Zealand, sharing remarkable work done in their countries where prison visitation is held in bright family-friendly surroundings and intentionally used as time to build strong family relations!  A Howard university professor told of her classes held inside a D.C. area prison with students actually living in the prison for one full week of the semester!

Most keynotes were provided by family members, including former prisoners—all memorable:  the mother inspired to achieve her PhD by her son’s incarceration; the formerly incarcerated robber just elected to his 6th term as Mayor; the father whose son was incarcerated eight years ago at age 18.  Together they creatively use Facebook-Live to advocate changing the perception of prison families...and the hope-filled presentation of the lovely college junior, daughter of two incarcerated parents, who just won the title of Miss Africa Texas using children of prisoners as her pageant platform. 

Evenings were filled with advocacy sessions as members of the conference Advocacy in Action Coalition and International Coalition for Children with Incarcerated Parents shared accomplishments of the past year and set goals for next year.  A new student social justice forum facilitated by university instructors met to encourage young people to become involved in social justice advocacy.  Exhibits, which included a prisoners’ fine art display and silent auction, provided a multitude of secular and faith-based resources to support and encourage prison family members.

Wistful goodbyes ‘til next year were delayed for a dozen or so conference attendees who enjoyed an after-conference adventure at the famed Ft. Worth Stockyards and a taste of Texas at the world renown Cattleman’s Steakhouse, offering an opportunity to further relationships.         

Three words most often used to describe the experience:  Inspiring!  Empowering! Hopeful!



Many pictures are posted on the Prisoner’s Family Conference Facebook page and details are on the conference website: www.prisonersfamilyconference.org.  To receive the conference e-newsletter e-mail a request to info@prisonersfamilyconference.org.  And, make plans now to attend the next conference-community experience May 3-5, 2017, in Dallas, Texas.  The call for presentations opens in September.




Carolyn Esparza, LPC is the
Chair of the InterNational Prisoner's Family 
Conference and Co-author, The Unvarnished 
Truth about the Prison Family Journey. 
She can be reached at 
915-861-7733
_______________

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


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

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

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

__________

Progressive Prison Project/ Innocent Spouse & Children Project
 

Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Minister/Director
jgrant@prisonist.org
(o) 203-769-1096
(m) 203-339-5887

Lynn Springer, Founding Advocate, Innocent Spouse & Children Project
lspringer@prisonist.org
(203) 536-5508

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

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

Babz Rawls Ivy, Media Contact
mediababz@gmail.com

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Men of Faith Magazine Cover Story: Interview with Rev. Jeff Grant, May/June Edition - by Hurley Morgan, Senior Managing Editor

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



Men of Faith Magazine Cover Story: 

Interview with Rev. Jeff Grant, Director,
Progressive Prison Project
by Hurley Morgan, 
Senior Managing Editor

[Photography by David Cluett]

We are so grateful to Elissa Gabrielle,  Cheryl Lacey Donovan, Hurley Morgan,  Cee Cee H. Caldwell Miller and all at  Real Life Real Faith Media for allowing us  the opportunity to reach out to individuals  and families with white-collar and nonviolent  incarceration issues who are suffering in silence.



_______________
 
Hurley Morgan: How did you first become interested in the issues that surround white-collar and other nonviolent incarceration?

Jeff Grant: Good morning Hurley.  It is so good to meet you. Your cover story interviews of Tracy Martin, father of Trayvon Martin, and of Christopher Williams were so powerful and helpful - if our interview touches even one person or family suffering from white-collar or nonviolent incarceration issues, I will consider it a success.  The most obvious answer to your question is that from 2006 - 2007, I was incarcerated for almost fourteen months at Allenwood LSCI, a federal prison in White Deer, Pennsylvania for a white-collar crime I committed when I was a lawyer.
 
HM: When did you first realize that you wanted to launch this project?

JG: I think our ministry was a more a calling than a realization. After returning home from prison, I volunteered for some recovery and prisoner reentry agencies in the Bridgeport Connecticut area.  Most notably, Family ReEntry, which was the first organization to elect me to its Board of Directors.  I then applied to and was accepted at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, where I attended from 2009 to 2012.  After earning a Master of Divinity with a focus in Christian Social Ethics, I was called to a position at the First Baptist Church in the inner city in Bridgeport, Connecticut, as Associate Pastor and Director of Prison Ministries.  My wife and partner-in-ministry Lynn Springer and I were living in Greenwich, CT at the time, where we were attending recovery meetings every morning.   In Greenwich recovery, I helped many financial people through their own prison-related issues.  The concept of founding the first ministry in the United States created to support individuals, families and organizations with white-collar incarceration issues grew out of our personal experiences living and working in these vastly different communities. 


HM: What is your mission and what do you find to be the biggest challenge with carrying out that mission?

JG: Our mission is to shepherd individuals and families with white-collar and nonviolent incarceration issues all the way through the prison process and to a new life of faith, dignity and productivity. A big challenge is the public’s lack of empathy, compassion, understanding and support.  The media generally doesn’t help - it is much more interested in promoting schadenfraude through sensationalized headlines about the fall from grace of the wealthiest people who have committed white-collar crimes.  If you look around, these stories are everywhere, fact or fiction: two Madoff movies, the television show Billions, the Wolf of Wall Street, Money Monster, The Big Short, Blue Jasmine, etc.  While we do regularly assist some big names you might see on CNBC or read about in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, most we help are regular people - people who live down the street, who are parents of your children’s friends, people you know from church or synagogue -  who just got caught up in things and couldn’t stop before it was too late. We have found that most people who commit white-collar crimes are sick and suffering, and have underlying issues relating to alcoholism, drug dependency, mental health, other addictions and compulsions, etc. that they don’t understand and for which they sought no treatment until the bottom dropped out.


HM: What exactly is a white-collar crime?

JG: Generally, white-collar crimes are financial crimes - they are about breach of trust.  But for us, white-collar crime is a more fluid concept - it incorporates individuals and families that can't go back to their old way of life because those doors have closed.  For example, professionals who are convicted of felonies for DWIs or DUIs might be prevented from going back to their old jobs or professions.  Where do they turn for support, especially if they are now living in poverty in affluent communities that have shunned and ostracized them?  Our ministry is about helping them to overcome shame, finding a new life of faith and dignity, and helping them to find support and services. 
   
HM: What is the biggest challenge that you are faced with today that challenges what it is you’re trying to accomplish with your ministry or services?

JG: Our biggest challenge, as is true with most nonprofits, is to find funding to allow us to provide direct services to those in need, and to operate and grow. We do not charge for our services; our only source of revenue is donations. These donations are usually from religious institutions, foundations and individuals.  We are very grateful for the support and generosity of all our contributors.

HM: How hard is it to typically get a person to engage in the services?

JG: It’s really a mixed bag. Most of the people suffering from these issues search the internet for any resources they can find - they come across our website prisonist.org and then we hear from them by phone, email, text, or social media. They are often in isolation but are drawn to us because we are faith-based, and they are comforted because as clergy all their communications with us are strictly confidential - this is also a reason that their lawyers will allow them to have a relationship with us. We often hear from them in the middle of the night when they have the most anxiety and can’t sleep. We understand. Others have read about us in magazine articles or by word of mouth. And we know that our newsletters are being forwarded to people in need and that they circulate in the prisons. With some people we wind up having successful multi-year relationships, and there are others who simply do not want what we have to offer and we never hear from them again. These are difficult issues and everyone handles things differently.
  
HM: What is the typical timeline for the services and what do the services entail?

JG: The timeline really depends upon the point of entry.  There are people to whom we minister that are waiting over three years just to be sentenced.  We are in contact with men and families during the time of incarceration.  We have now been operating long enough that some men we worked with before and/or during their incarceration are now returning home and we are helping them reconnect with their families and find new careers. The services we provide are both spiritual and practical - we give individuals and families the benefit of our own experience and the many people we know and have worked with all in the framework of getting through shame, ostracism and despair to a new life of faith, dignity and productivity.

HM: How successful are your support and counseling services in getting those served to be successful as they are being reincorporated to normalcy?

JG: The goal is not to be restored to normalcy, but to adopt a new way of life that is more faithful, happier and authentic.  Most of the people we minister to were not happy underneath, they were sick and suffering in some way that led them to do things that were the opposite of their core authenticity.  Nobody we’ve ever met or worked with thought in fifth grade that they wanted to become a white-collar criminal and go to prison. Something happened along the way that affected their judgment and self-esteem.  We help them get back to their core truths, and find ways to live the lives they were meant to live. 


HM: Why are your services so important for people to know about?

JG: I’d have to say it’s about Matthew 25, The Sheep and the Goats, "whatever you did for one of the least of these...you did for me.” We realize that what we do is not for the timid or the faint of heart.  But what calling is?  There are tens of thousands of people suffering from white-collar and other nonviolent incarceration issues who need us.  It is our hope that there are others who will pick up their cross and join us to help these individuals and families who have nowhere else to turn.

HM: Many people hate the idea of receiving counseling. How do you overcome that barrier in people to get them to want the help?

JG: When we started our ministry, our number one priority was to be a power of example to people that you can survive prison and go on to live a faithful, productive life of integrity and authenticity. People identify with this, it gives them hope and promise that they can get through their issues too. Even the most resistant to pastoral counseling still seem to be drawn to our story, and the stories of others who have overcome great obstacles to success and happiness. 


HM: Why did you choose the name Progressive Prison Project/Innocent Spouse & Children Project?

JG: The term “progressive” means that although we are a Christian faith-based project, we do not privilege one religion or denomination over any other.  We have worked with and ministered to Jews, Muslims and those who have other faiths or no faith at all.  After we started, it soon became clear that that there was no ministry in the country that had recognized the issues, and was dedicated to the spiritual health, of the spouses and children so we founded the Innocent Spouse & Children Project.
 
HM: How are the spouses and children incorporated in the services?

JG: We have a policy that it’s men with the men, women with the women.  This avoids any transference issues that might come up, especially amongst a population of women who are often the spouses of powerful men.  So my wife and partner-in-ministry Lynn handles all this.  There is one exception: sometimes a woman will come to us with a complicated issue that requires one of our lawyer partners or professionals to review. In one case, an innocent spouse came to us after her personal assets had been frozen by the government along with her husband’s (he was accused of a white-collar crime).   She had no money for food or to heat the home for her and her children, and certainly no money to retain a lawyer to help her.  We put together a team that got her a recovery from the U.S. Receiver, the first time in U.S. history that such a recovery had ever been made in an active financial crime prosecution.
 
HM: What is your vision for your Progressive Prison Project/Innocent Spouse & Children Project moving into the next 5 years or so?

JG: Our number one goal is to move individuals and families going though these issues from lives of stigma, shame, ostracism and guilt to lives of faith, dignity, respect and productivity.  To do that, we know we have to be not only ministers, but we have to be advocates, change agents and thought leaders until the public and the press accept and embrace that people are people, and that we are all bound by our brokenness. Our plan is to have a fiscally healthy, self-sustaining and fully accountable ministry that thoughtfully and carefully grows to meet these needs. 


HM: Do you plan to take your services nationwide?

JG: We are already nationwide, albeit mostly in a personal way. Off the top of my head, we have ministered to individuals and families in Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Miami, Washington DC, Virginia, Georgia, Buffalo, and of course New York City and the New York metro area including Connecticut and New Jersey.  We do sometimes meet in person, but most times we communicate by phone, Skype, FaceTime, email or text. And federal prisons now have email called CorrLinks, so we stay connected even when they are serving their time. 


HM: If someone is interested in your services how can they go about getting help or even getting involved for that matter?

JG: If your readers, their friends or family members are experiencing a white-collar or nonviolent incarceration issue, want to get involved, or want to make a contribution, information is on our website prisonist.org. I can be reached at jgrant@prisonist.org. We will promptly send out 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: 

Debbie Miles I wanted to share that Wells Fargo positions now specifically encourage those with records to apply. Specifically this is what a recent ad now says: Disclaimer All offers for employment with Wells Fargo are contingent upon the candidate having successfully completed a criminal background check. Wells Fargo will consider qualified candidates with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of applicable local, state and Federal law, including Section 19 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act. 

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


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


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

__________ 
 

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

__________



Progressive Prison Project/ Innocent Spouse & Children Project
 
Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Minister/Director
jgrant@prisonist.org
(o) 203-769-1096
(m) 203-339-5887
Twitter,Facebook,Linked In,Pinterest,Google+,Tumblr


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

(203) 536-5508


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

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

Babz Rawls Ivy, Media Contact
mediababz@gmail.com
 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Women Walking By Faith Magazine: A Chat with Lynn Springer, May/June 2016 Edition

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


Women Walking By Faith Magazine
A Chat with Lynn Springer, Founding Advocate
Innocent Spouse & Children Project 

We are so grateful to Elissa Gabrielle, 
Cheryl Lacey Donovan, Hurley Morgan, 
Cee Cee H. Caldwell Miller and all at 
Real Life Real Faith Media for allowing us 
the opportunity to reach out to individuals 
and families with white-collar and nonviolent 
incarceration issues who are suffering in silence.




Click above pages to enlarge
 _____________

Donations

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


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


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

__________ 
 

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

The darkest days of a person's life can be a 
time of renewal and hope.

__________





Progressive Prison Project/
Innocent Spouse & Children Project
 

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


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

(203) 536-5508


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

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

Babz Rawls Ivy, Media Contact
mediababz@gmail.com

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Weston Forum: Former White-Collar Criminal Turns Focus to Spirituality and Helping Others, by Gregory Menti - Reporter




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Blogs, Guest Blogs & News



The Weston Forum: Former 
White-Collar Criminal Turns Focus 
to Spirituality and Helping Others 
 
by Gregory Menti - Reporter
The Weston Forum


Reprinted from The Weston Forum
May 12, 2016

Spirituality wasn’t always a word in Jeff Grant’s lexicon, but after a near 14-month stint in prison for committing a white-collar crime, Grant isn’t just practicing spirituality, he’s preaching it.

In 2012, Grant and his wife, Lynn Springer, co-founded an outreach ministry called Progressive Prison Project/Innocent Spouse and Children Project.

The ministry helps people suffering from white-collar crimes connect with their spirituality. White-collar crime is defined as “financially motivated and nonviolent crime” committed by business and government professionals.

Calling their ministry “safe and secure,” Grant and Springer discuss matters of shame, ostracism, grief and remorse with individuals and families affected by white-collar crime.
Grant, a Weston resident, has developed relationships with white-collar criminals from across the country and uses phone, email and Skype to connect with them on a regular basis.

See GRANT on page 6A

Jeff Grant, a former incarcerated white-collar criminal, and his wife, Lynn Springer, are the founders of the Progressive Prison Project/Innocent Spouse and Children Project devoted to bringing spirituality and hope to people affected by white-collar crimes.


Grant
Continued from 1A
Through what they refer to as “pastoral care,” the couple uses their experiences to guide individuals and families through the time surrounding the criminal’s prison sentence.

“When someone is convicted of a white-collar crime there is a stigma to that,” Grant said. “There is a shame and they don’t know where to turn. They are often shunned from their community.”

While Grant counsels the individuals who commit the crimes, Springer turns much of her attention to their families.
Their services are entirely confidential, which means that lawyers often allow Grant and Springer to continue their relationship with clients during trials.

“What we’re doing is the first step in the formation of a new community of people looking for acceptance and redemption,” said Grant of the Prison Progressive Project. “These people are willing to adopt a spiritual solution.” Grant’s relationship with clients doesn’t end at sentencing. 

He also communicates with them while they’re incarcerated. Now that his service is in its fourth year and his clients are beginning to see the end of their sentences, he’s starting to help guide them with their post-prison life. While a client is in prison, Springer communicates and counsels family members who are suffering from shame from their community during that time period.

White-collar crime 

Prior to his turn to spirituality, Grant was convicted of fraud, a common white-collar crime.

Following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Grant, a successful corporate and real estate attorney, applied for a low-interest Small Business Administration loan for $247,000, claiming he had suffered economic hardships from the attack at an office near Ground Zero. However, he didn’t actually have an office there.

Grant said he was in the midst of a 10-year addiction to painkillers that impaired his judgment and rationality at the time.

In 2002, shortly after the Sept. 11 loan scam, Grant called his ethics attorney and relinquished his law license.

That night, he attempted suicide by taking an entire bottle of painkillers.

After his suicide attempt, Grant spent months in a rehab hospital in New Canaan. He has been sober since his stint at the hospital.

In 2004, after two years of sobriety, Grant received a call informing him there was a warrant for his arrest in connection with the fraudulent 9/11 loan.

Grant fully repaid the loan plus penalties, and in 2006 was sentenced to 18 months at the Allenwood Low Security Prison in White Deer, Pa.

Grant said he survived prison due to a new dedication to mind, body and spirit.

“In my 13 and a half months at prison, I walked 14,000 laps at the track,” he said, explaining that was 3,500 miles, or the distance from New York to Los Angeles. This resulted in him losing more than 40 pounds that he had put on in the months when he was waiting to go to prison.

During his stint behind bars, Grant’s devotion to spirituality began when he started actively attending church services.
“Everyone goes through some form of transformation in prison,” he said. “I became open to all forms of religion; Christianity, Islam, Judaism. I became interested in the ways of these faiths,” he said.

After his release from prison, Grant received a master of divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York City.

After he completed the program in 2012, Grant quickly was given a job as a practicing minister at the First Baptist Church in Bridgeport and soon after was named associate pastor and director of prison ministry at the church.
Grant was living in Greenwich at the time, and working in Bridgeport he noticed the monumental financial divide of rich and poor in each community.

However, Grant said, financial wealth and spiritual wealth flipped once a member of each community was incarcerated.
“Once someone was convicted of a crime, there was a new definition of rich and poor in each city,” said Grant. “Families in the inner cities rallied around the oppressed, while families in Greenwich would push them away.”

Prison Progressive Project

In May 2012, Grant established the outreach ministry Prison Progressive Project/Innocent Spouse and Children Project, and began working toward establishing spirituality within white-collar criminals.

As far as Grant knows, his ministry is the first of its kind.

“I found my calling which was based in my own experiences,” said Grant. “The need for this work was there. Many affluent areas deny the existence of crime. They deny the existence of substance abuse,” he said.
Grant looks back on the pressures of his job as an attorney and understands why many white-collar criminals turn to substance abuse and crime.

“There were a lot of long hours, long nights and stress,” he said.

Before his incarceration, Grant said, he was very “materialistic” and more focused on his BMWs and vacations than his spirituality. But he is grateful that his life has turned in the direction it has.

“We have worked with wellknown people, with lawyers and doctors,” said Grant. “We’ve worked with people who have exercised poor judgment, or have substance abuse issues. We’ve worked with people who don’t have the resources to bounce back.”

Grant and Springer don’t charge for their services, but they accept donations. Grant said donors are often affluent individuals, faith-based institutions or merely “compassionate people” who want to make a difference.
Approximately 80% of their clientele finds them, and family members will often reach out to them before the criminal does.

One of the primary goals of the ministry is to educate the public on the shame that white-collar criminals feel, and Grant will do that through guest preaching at churches around the area.

Grant and Springer often attend Norfield Congregational Church on Norfield Road, and Grant has spoken about his work in sermons there.

“We talk about why we are a unique ministry and how others can relate to these experiences,” he said, adding that he also speaks about his ministry at organizations, conferences and clubs.

Ultimately, Grant hopes to give white-collar criminals and their families the spirituality they need to ensure they aren’t going through challenging times alone.

“We really try to bring faith, dignity and respect to all of those who are suffering,” he said.

Comments from Social Media:


Rachael Littman - Amazing work that shines light onto a painful darkness found in isolation ! Addiction is an equal opportunity killer. No one is immune, it may just be the only thing we have an equal opportunity to experience; despite social status, race, or religion. Reading this article really does highlight the power of human kindness. The progressive prison project reminded me of how the connections we make provide amazing potentials for recovery and healing, despite how broken you may feel when people genuinely care and can accept us despite the dark isolated places we may be found. No matter how bad a place we may find ourselves today, with resilience and support bad situations can be turned around and can even lend us strength and spiritual (re)connection and possibilities that could not have been foreseen. Thank you for providing this amazing ministry.

Mary Setterholm -
Jeff Grant was a dear friend I could trust when I attended Union Theological Seminary for a year and then left for Harvard Divinity School. He and his wife were the first people I connected with - Check out his testimony - Blessings Jeff!
William Cardman For many of us it was only after we reached the bottom of the pit of despair that we realized God had designed a purpose for us.
__________



 Donations


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


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


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


__________ 
 

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

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

time of renewal and hope.

__________



Progressive Prison Project/  
Innocent Spouse & Children Project

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



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

(203) 536-5508


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

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

Babz Rawls Ivy, Media Contact
mediababz@gmail.com