Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc.: the first ministry in the United States created to provide confidential support and counseling to individuals, families and organizations with white-collar and other nonviolent incarceration issues. Greenwich CT & Nationwide.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Hour: Ministry Counsels People Who Committed White-Collar Crimes, By Jeff Eydt - Hour Staff Writer


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


The Hour: Ministry Counsels People 
Who Committed White-Collar Crimes

By Jeff Eydt - Hour Staff Writer


Reprinted from The Hour, March 26, 2016



WESTON -- Rev. Jeff Grant and his wife, Lynn Springer, held a seminar to provide support and counseling to individuals and families with white-collar and nonviolent incarceration issues at Norfield Congregational Church, held by the Weston Kiwanis Club on Saturday morning.

After serving 14 months in a federal prison, Grant gives spiritual and practical advice to those in need based on his own experiences.

"Our job is to try and reach people who are suffering in silence," said Grant, minister and director of the Progressive Prison Project. "I provide one-on-one pastoral counseling for the men (who are serving their sentences) and my wife Lynn supports the families going through these tough times."

Grant and Springer are an outreach ministry who work with Norfield Congregational Church in Weston, the Christ Church in Greenwich and the First Baptist Church in Bridgeport.


"We try to change the mindset of these families," said Springer, founding advocate for the Innocent Spouse & Children Project. "These people come from very privileged lives. We try to get these families to find gratitude in their situations, and we work on that a lot."

Springer also helps the families with practical information because once the men are sentenced, the families are (usually) left without the breadwinner. She instructs them on using food banks and other services.

"We help people all over the country. If they are close by, we invite them to our house," said Springer. "We are like one family. One Christmas, we had a family over and we helped them make Christmas presents for their kids ... We try to shift them into a loving life in a different way, where they are grateful for a new day -- which can be quite a contrast since there's no more jetting off to the Bahamas or St. Barts."

Grant has been a guest preacher at the Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Westport and the Emmanuel Episcopal in Weston.

"Part of my one-on-one pastoral counseling involves prison readiness," said Grant. "Not only do I do the spiritual side, but I also counsel them on the pragmatic side: how to navigate the system and try to help them get a career afterwards. I also help teach them how to handle themselves (in prison) -- what to talk about and what not to talk about."

Grant and Springer emphasize that they try to teach these people that they need to treat these experiences as transformative and periods of growth, instead of punishments.

"We want these people to build their own rehabilitation program," said Springer. "

Grant was sentenced to 18 months in a federal prison for making false statements on the SBA 9/11 loan application -- low-interest loans for businesses that had been adversely affected by the terrorist attack. Grant was a corporate and real estate lawyer for a firm located in Mamaroneck, N.Y. He applied for the loan because of the shame and guilt he felt towards his struggling business, as well as his escalating addiction to painkillers. On Easter Sunday of 2006, he reported to Allenwood Low Security Corrections Institution in White Deer, Penn.

"I got a reduced sentence for my service work," said Grant. "I made full restitution of the money that was loaned."
Grant turned to the ministry when he was released from prison, after a recommendation from Rev. Chris Tate at the Second Congregational Church in Greenwich.

"There is a lot of suffering for these fathers and families, and they could be living right down the street and you'd never know," said Grant. "We try to show passion and empathy to their struggle and help them through it."

The Progressive Prison Project/Innocent Spouse & Children Project is the first ministry in the U.S. created to provide confidential support and counseling for white-collar and other non-violent incarceration issues.

For more information about Grant and Springer or for people going through a similar situation, visit their website for Progressive Prison Project/Innocent Spouse & Children Project at prisonist.org or call them at (203) 769-1096.




_________

DONATIONS 

We are grateful for all donations to our Ministries that enable us to grow, reach out and serve this community for which there is far too little understanding, compassion and empathy.  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. 

Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. is 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 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

Weston Forum: Kiwanis Talk, Aftermath of White Collar Crime


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for the Days Ahead
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Weston Forum: Kiwanis Talk
Aftermath of White-Collar Crime




A man who served more than a year in a federal prison for a white-collar crime committed during his career as a lawyer will speak to the Kiwanis Club of Weston on Saturday, March 26, at Norfield Congregational Church, Parish Hall.

The Kiwanis meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. Breakfast will be served and members of the public are welcome.

Rev. Jeff Grant and his wife Lynn Springer will discuss their work with the Progressive Prison Project/Innocent Spouse & Children Project.

With offices in Weston, the Progressive Prison Project/Innocent Spouse & Children Project is the first ministry in the United States created to provide confidential support and pastoral counseling to individuals, families and organizations with white-collar and other nonviolent incarceration issues.

After serving nearly 14 months for a crime committed during his career as a lawyer, Grant earned a master of divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York. He has served on a number of criminal justice related boards including Family ReEntry, Community Partners in Action, and Healing Communities Network.

He has also served on the editorial board of the book, The Justice Imperative: How Hyper- Incarceration Has Hijacked the American Dream, and on the advisory board of Creative Projects Group. 

He was the recipient of the Elizabeth Bush Award for volunteerism and the Bridgeport ReEntry Collaborative Advocate of the Year Award ’13, ’14 and ’15.

JustLeadershipUSA recognized Grant as one of 15 national leaders in criminal justice.

Lynn Springer is the founding advocate of the Innocent Spouse & Children Project.

As the innocent partner of a white-collar criminal, and a mother, Lynn is called to this ministry with a heart of compassion and understanding. She assists women and families in finding ethical ways through faith and practical solutions to a new, sturdy, healthy way of life. 

She has served as curriculum consultant and essay reader at Friends of Nick, a NYC faith-based foundation created to build character and integrity in underprivileged inner city youth; as a member of the board of directors of Pathways; and on the board of the International AIDS Charitable Foundation.

She has served as a deacon at the Second Congregational Church of Greenwich.

The Kiwanis Club of Weston sponsors a variety of programs and events to raise money for local organizations. The club’s membership is open to all men and women residing or working in the area. For more information, visit westonkiwanis.org.

_____

DONATIONS
 
We are grateful for all donations to our Ministries that enable us to grow, reach out and serve this community for which there is far too little understanding, compassion and empathy.  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. 


Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. is 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 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

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

All Things are Possible for Those Who Believe, By Barry S. Diamond - Guest Blogger & Reentry Survivor

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



All Things are Possible for
Those Who Believe

By Barry S. Diamond - Guest Blogger 
& Founder of the P.R.I.D.E. Program





The journey

I walked out of prison in 2012 with a box of my belongings, picked up by my wife & returned to a new life that was different.  Who am I now?  I know who I was when I went in.  While incarcerated I learned about another society hidden from view, “THE CONVICT”.  I was now a part of that society, forever.  Day to day living & connections  were taken care of by family & friends who welcomed me back.  What was I to do with my life to make it worthwhile.  What could I contribute to help my fellow felons who needed help when they returned.  I went to my house of worship & asked for guidance.  My spiritual leader introduced me to Dan Braccio at the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport, who set me on a clear path that has given me hope & fulfillment.  If you want to find yourself you only have to help others find themselves & in the process you find yourself.

The path

The miracle was developing a training program called P.R.I.D.E. PROGRAM (people reentering into doing entrepreneurship) exclusively  training inmates , released inmates & people with a criminal background how to go into business for themselves.  We are opening training sites in Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford, Waterbury, Enfield.  We also will be training Federal released prisoners as part of an existing Federal Grant recently given.  Many colleges have inquired about the course being given at their institution.  The course is currently being converted to an online course for possible use in prisons in other states.

For more information:
theprideprogram@gmail.com
reentrysurvivors.com

________

DONATIONS

We are grateful for all donations to our Ministries that enable us to grow, reach out and serve this community for which there is far too little understanding, compassion and empathy.  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. 


Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. is 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 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
(203) 645-9278   

Sunday, March 20, 2016

An Open Letter to Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and Our State Legislators, by Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div: On the State's Plan to Cut Funding for Prisoner Reentry


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


An Open Letter to Connecticut 
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy 
and Our State Legislators:

 On the State's Plan to Cut Funding for
Prisoner Reentry

By Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div




Dear Governor Malloy and
Our Connecticut State Legislators,

I am on the Board of Directors of Family ReEntry, an essential nonprofit agency serving released inmates and their families in Fairfield and New Haven Counties.   
These reentry services include critical mental health and substance abuse treatment for over 1,500 Paroles each year – thus increasing public safety, reducing recidivism, and decreasing the collateral consequences and costs.  In addition, Family ReEntry provides effective interventions for over 1,200 family violence offenders throughout the State - resulting in significant reductions in the victimization of women and children. These programs help halt the tragic intergenerational cycle of violence and abuse. 
Family ReEntry Youth Programs focus on prevention and very early intervention for children of incarcerated parents and youth involved in the Juvenile Justice System – thus saving lives and dollars. Other community justice providers across the State are essential to the social order, humane and effective care, and public safety.   
Without these services, crime will increase, incarceration will increase, associated costs will increase, unemployment will increase, and communities will suffer. This is not an attractive climate for business!

I am reaching out to implore you to do everything in your power to prevent budget cuts in the community justice sector. 

Cuts already implemented have devastated the community justice providers across the State.  Family ReEntry, for example, has lost 67% of its Department of Corrections community programs, including two large mental health and substance abuse treatment programs, which were already over utilized by 450 Parolees and were projected to effectively assess and treat 1,600 by June 30 when the contracts are terminated. What happens to public safety after that?  And these are only two of the many mental and substance abuse treatments programs eliminated this week.   
If you recall, it did not go so well when hundreds of psychiatric facilities were closed in the U.S.  According to the NYT, the policies that led to the release of most of the nation's mentally ill patients from the hospital to the community without appropriate care in the community are now widely regarded as a major failure. Sweeping critiques of the policies, notably a report of the American Psychiatric Association, have spread the blame everywhere, faulting politicians…..and others.  Another dismal policy failure should not be your legacy. 

Some relevant points for you to consider:

Find Another Way: Please attempt to meet the projected budget deficits without devastating the nonprofit human services and criminal justice (CJ) sectors.  Even a small reduction in these sectors will have a devastating and lasting ripple effect.  In the long-term, these cuts will increase costs and leave a legacy of human and social destruction.

Plan Long-Term:
Create a long term State Budget plan that funds human services and community justice at appropriate levels that maintain quality of care and a stable workforce. Nonprofits are businesses throughout the State - vital to the State’s economy and its ability to attract new businesses.

Don’t Compromise Public Safety: Cuts to the criminal justice sector will result in decreased public safety (and commensurate costs) and setback much needed criminal justice system reforms (with commensurate human, societal, and financial costs).

Don’t Retreat: Decimating the community justice sector and the mental health and substance abuse sectors will make future structural changes and savings much less likely.  “You cannot build an effective and efficient criminal justice system on a weak crumbling foundation destroyed in fiscal years 16, 17, and 18.”
 
Consider Alternative Solutions:
Although long-term structural changes are needed in the State’s Budget, the only way to achieve the long-term fiscal and policy goals without major setbacks is a combination of carefully targeted and realistic expense reductions and some increases in revenue.  Consider other investment strategies in the nonprofit sector, such as Social Impact Bonds and similar instruments.

Focus on Effectiveness: Like other providers in the CJ sector, Family ReEntry is a high-impact, cost-effective provider of community justice services for reentering citizens, those suffering from mental health & substance abuse, perpetrators of family/domestic violence, and at-risk youth and families.  These services are proven to decrease costs, increase public safety, reduce victimization, and create a climate for business growth in the State.

I have confidence in you and all the leadership to recognize that Connecticut holds a unique position in this country - we have a safe place to live and work that leads the nation in social reform.  It is inconsistent and simply wrong to cut funding at a time when the Federal government and our sister states finally recognize the scope and severity of criminal justice, mental health and substance abuse problems, and are redoubling their efforts and funding to find solutions.

We need to keep moving forward and use justice reinvestment strategies to provide an ever safer, more secure and more enlightened place for our children to grow and prosper. We must keep our eye on the long-term prize, not cave to short-term budget demands. Otherwise, what do we have left?

Please feel free to call upon me if I can provide any service in this regard.

Thank you for your consideration of these critical issues.

Blessings,

Rev. Jeff Grant 


Steve Lanza, Executive Director of Family Reentry,
provided key points incorporated in this letter.
_________


Comments from Social Media: 

Alison O Jordan: "There are cost benefits to consider as well - linkages to primary care after incarceration using an evidence- informed intervention have found reductions in ED use and improvements in socioeconomic status that reduce other systems costs and improve lives (see paper below). Health outcomes for HIV-infected persons released from the New York City jail system with a transitional care-coordination plan. . Citation Am J Public Health. 2015 Feb;105(2):351-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302234."

Laura Lillian Best Absolutely! Second Chance Initiatives WILL NOT Work without Reentry Initiatives!

Irma Fordin Ceglia Well said

   

 __________

DONATIONS


We are grateful for all donations to our Ministries that enable us to grow, reach out and serve this community for which there is far too little understanding, compassion and empathy.  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. 


Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. is 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 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
(203) 645-9278   




Friday, March 18, 2016

National Reentry Week - April 24 - 30, 2016

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


National Reentry Week
April 24 - 30, 2016


A Letter from Karol Mason Announcing National Reentry Week 2016
View this email in your browser
Washington, D.C. 20531
March 17, 2016
Dear Colleague:
Over the last seven years, the Department of Justice has partnered with state, local, and tribal agencies and national organizations to support hundreds of reentry programs across the country. Thanks to these collaborations - and to the important work each of you is doing in your community - individuals leaving our corrections facilities have benefited from unprecedented access to job training, healthcare, housing, and other services aimed at putting them on a path to productive, successful lives.
The demand for effective reentry services remains high. More than 600,000 men and women leave our prisons every year and more than 11 million people cycle through our nation's jails. That is why the Justice Department, through our Second Chance Act programs and our leadership of the Federal Interagency Reentry Council, continues to advance evidence-based reentry programming and promote innovative reentry policymaking. I am proud of the progress we have made and excited about the successes that lie ahead. But federal actions have been and will be only part of the solution. It is up to all of us, working together, to press the importance of these programs and policies that make such a positive and lasting difference, not only to the individuals who are served but to the communities to which they return.
In an effort to draw greater attention to reentry, the Department of Justice is designating April 24-30, 2016, National Reentry Week. Throughout the week, U.S. Attorneys' Offices will lead reentry-related efforts in their districts and Bureau of Prisons facilities will coordinate events in their 122 facilities. We invite you to join them in these activities or organize your own local events. Activities could take the form of job fairs, reentry roundtables, listening sessions with formerly incarcerated individuals, special events for children of incarcerated parents, outreach through OpEd pieces in local media outlets, or any of a number of other efforts designed to raise awareness of the importance of reentry.
Effective reentry programs offer the chance of a better life to those who return from our nation's corrections facilities. I encourage you to use the occasion of National Reentry Week to highlight the value of these programs and to enlist your community in your work. The investments we make today - through the resources we dedicate and the enthusiasm we generate - will pay dividends for returning citizens and for public safety in America. Please send comments or questions about National Reentry Week to reentry@usdoj.gov.
Sincerely,

Karol V. Mason
Assistant Attorney General
__________


DONATIONS

We are grateful for all donations to our Ministries that enable us to grow, reach out and serve this community for which there is far too little understanding, compassion and empathy.  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. 


Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. is 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 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
(203) 645-9278