Faith Based Programs for Offender Reentry–DC Public Safety Television Show

DC Public Safety Television Show–Faith Based Programs for Offender Reentry

Television show at http://media.csosa.gov/podcast/video/2012/09/faith-based-initiatives-for-offender-reentry-dc-public-safety-television/

http://media.csosa.gov (CSOSA social media website)

http://www.csosa.gov (CSOSA website)

http://www.lamontcarey.com/

[Video Begins]

Len Sipes:  Hi and welcome to DC Public Safety.  I’m your host, Leonard Sipes.  Today’s program is on the Faith Community and their involvement in terms of offenders coming out of the prison system.  You know the faith community has long been an important force in improving public safety, offender reentry, and victim services.  Many faith-based organizations are uniquely suited to bringing together residents and local leaders to address challenges.  There are more than 350,000 religious congregations in the United States.  Faith-based institutions engage 45,000,000 volunteers; nearly half of the total number of American volunteers.  The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has worked to improve collaboration.  The Department of Justice is one of 12 agencies that have a center for faith-based and community initiatives.  Here in Washington DC, my agency, the Court Services of Offender Supervision Agency has joined 100 faith institutions resulting in 200 mentors being matched with 300 mentees, approximately 500 offenders have successfully completed the program since August of 2007. Our guests today represent a national perspective and efforts here in Washington DC.  They are Eugene Schneeberg, Director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships for the U.S. Department of Justice and Christine Keels, the Supervisory Program Analyst, and the FBI Leader, Faith-Based initiative Team Leader at CSOSA.  And to Eugene and to Chris, welcome to DC Public safety.

Eugene Schneeberg:  Thank you.

Len Sipes:  That was a terribly long introduction.  But what I wanted to do, Eugene, is to get across the full flavor of the fact that this is a massive undertaking, 350,000 religious congregations throughout the United States.  Whether they be Christian churches, synagogues, whether they be led by imams.  The whole point within the Islamic religion, the whole point is that this is huge; getting the religious community involved in this concept of offenders coming out of the prison system is a huge issue.  And you’re part of the coordinating efforts for the U.S. Department of Justice.

Eugene Schneeberg:  Well, thanks, Leonard, for having us, first of.

Len Sipes:  Sure.

Eugene Schneeberg:  You’re absolutely right.  This is a major issue and the faith community has for decades been out in front on this issue of providing needed services for the most vulnerable among us.  And so President Obama recognizes that the Federal Government can do a lot to help people in need, but most often it’s the faith community or it’s non-profits in local communities on the ground, grass roots organizations that are going to have that face-to-face, direct contact with organizations. And so in that, we partner with faith-based organizations with secular non-profit organizations to let them know about what resources available to the Department of Justice, and we’re proud to do it.

Len Sipes:  Now there’s a certain legitimacy in terms of the faith-based community that we in government do not have.  There is a certain moral responsibility, there is a certain, I guess, sense of respect in terms of the people who live within that community.  They embrace their own faith organizations.  I’m not quite sure they embrace us in government, but they embrace them.  They embrace the congregations, they embrace the leadership.  And it doesn’t matter, again, whether it’s a synagogue, whether it’s a mosque, whether it’s a church.  They embrace that. So getting to them, getting them involved, in terms of people coming back from the prison systems.  That seems to me to be extraordinarily important.

Eugene Schneeberg:  Well you’re right on.  I think faith leaders have kind of an innate credibility within them.  And they have the respect of the people in their community.  They’re oftentimes when people are in need the first place they go is their local congregation, their church, or their mosque, or their synagogue.  And so it’s a great opportunity, it’s a great asset for the Federal Government to be able to partner with these organizations.To be able to make grant awards, and provide training and technical assistance.

Len Sipes:  Christine, you and I go way back from the Maryland system before both of us came to the Court Services at Offender Supervision Agency. You’ve revitalized this whole concept of the faith-based effort here at CSOSA.  You have a lot of people, 100 institutions, where am I on this list.  Two hundred mentors resulting in 300 offenders being matched with a mentor.  Approximately 500 offender mentees have successfully completed the program since August of 2007.  That’s a lot of organizations; that’s a lot of human beings being assisted.

Christine Keels:  That’s correct.  It’s a lot of energy, a lot of good energy around doing some very positive things for people who need our assistance.

Len Sipes:  Now throughout this program, ladies and gentleman, one of the things I do want to emphasize is that we have a yearly celebration of the faith-based program in Washington DC and throughout this program you’re going to see a lot of B-roll.  You’re going to see a choir leading us in and out of these segments.  And you’re going to see a special presentation by a gentleman on the second half talking about the streets calling his name, but nobody else remembered his name, but the streets call his name.  So we’re going to again, focusing on this faith-based celebration, yearly faith-based celebration that we have in February every year. And Christine, the success of this program, I’ve talked to so many people within our program who were down and out, coming out of the prison system, nobody cared, nobody wanted them.  But the faith-based organizations embraced them.  They didn’t just provide food.  They did, in some cases, provide shelter, and some cases provide clothing, in some cases provide substance abuse counseling, and other cases alcohol assistance.   It’s the embracement of the individuals of saying, “Okay, yeah I know that you’ve been out of the prison system, but you’re still a human being.”  Embracing him and accepting him seems to be the bridge that allows a lot of people to cross over from law offending, to law abiding behavior.

Christine Keels:  Yes.  Having a role model is important for all of us.  And so our mentors serve as life coaches, they provide resources, they help with decision making, and most importantly, they help people get off supervision successfully.  We’ve had a number of early terminations as a result of those good relationships and those partnerships that have developed.  And we’ve learned in the criminal justice system based on analysis, that what we’ve been doing in the past really hasn’t worked.  So what work data’s telling us now, is that we need to work on cognitive behavior, and building relationships.

Len Sipes:  Right.  The cognitive behavior means teaching them a different way of looking at life.

Christine Keels:  That’s right.  Approaching things differently, having different options to be able to work with and being able to use their creativity to solve some of their problems.

Len Sipes:  Eugene, what do we say to people who … you’re part of a national effort and part of the White House effort, in terms of encouraging people within faith communities, to reach out and to join the institutions.  They have to be trained; they have to go through a certain amount of training.  They’re just not put out by themselves.  Some cases it’s team mentoring, correct Chris, where we have two or three mentors working with one mentee.

Christine Keels:  Uh-huh.

Len Sipes:  How do you convince people, how do we convince people that this is something in this day and age of there are kids that need to be taken care of?  There’s the elderly that need to be taken care of.  There are people who are out of work that need to be taken care of.  How do we convince people to give time, support, and money effort to offenders coming out of the prison system?

Eugene Schneeberg:  Sure.  That’s a great question.  And so it’s the argument and the case that we try to make often at DOJ.  Which is these folks are coming home back to our communities.  It’s not like when you lock them up, you throw away the key, they’re never going to come home.  Ninety-five percent of people that are incarcerated are coming home.  And without the proper support, the likelihood of them reoffending is high.  In some cases, it’s high is about 60%.   And so not only is it the moral thing to do, but also from a fiscal perspective, we can’t afford to continue to incarcerate folks.  I think in Massachusetts or some state, to incarcerate a juvenile for just one year is well over $100,000.  You can send someone to Harvard University for less than it costs to incarcerate a teen in Massachusetts. So the burden to taxpayers to continue to fail people when they’re coming out of incarceration is way too high.  And so it makes sense to make small investments, strategic investments, in organizations that can be effective and oftentimes community-based or faith-based organization can keep someone out of incarceration.  Help them get a job, helping them get housing, for a fraction of what it will cost to keep them incarcerated.

Len Sipes:  Seven hundred thousand people leave state and federal prisons every year, 700,000.  Now you go to national research, and 50% are back in the prison system in three years.  If you can hook them up with a mosque, a synagogue, and a church, if you can get them to be embraced by that community, and also at the same time, serve their needs, housing needs, or need for alcohol anonymous, or the programs or drug treatment, you can really dramatically reduce the costs, the fiscal burden to states and the federal government in terms of people going back to prison.

Eugene Schneeberg:  Absolutely.  If you go to our website, www.ojp.gov/fbnp there’s links there to the work that the National Institute of Justice has done to evaluate community-based and faith-based organizations.  If you go to the National Reentry Resource Center website, nationalreentryresourcecenter.org, there’s all kind of research that just really demonstrates the impact that community-based organizations are having.

Len Sipes:  And we’ll be putting up these websites all throughout the course of the program. Chris, talk to me about what I said earlier about the fact that we in government have limited authority.  The church, the mosque, the synagogue, they have the authority.  They can communicate with individuals in a way that we cannot, is that correct?

Christine Keels:  That is correct.  It’s returning to our good ole’ fashioned American values of helping our neighbor and doing what we can to empower the person who lives next to us or who exists next to us. And, of course, as the Federal Government we cannot prosthelytize or force people to go into any religious –

Len Sipes:  Oh, thanks for bringing that up.

Christine Keels:  – into any kind of religious programming.  However, our mentors are very well trained.  That it’s really showing love through deeds and helping people to be able to make good decisions based on the experiences that our mentors have had. If our mentors walked the path, why not share that path with someone else so that they don’t go the wrong way?

Len Sipes:  And know in the second half we’ll have a mentor/mentee team as part of a CSOSA effort and they will talk about their particular story.

Christine Keels:  That’s right.

Len Sipes:  But I’m glad you brought up the fact that they cannot bring up their … they cannot try to convince somebody to join their church, or join the mosque.  It is completely agnostic and that’s one of the points I’m glad that you brought up. You’ve got training throughout the course of the year.  This is a big, involved program.  You train new volunteers all throughout the course of the year.  You offer training for the new faith-based institutions.  And then we do this huge, big celebration in February that people are seeing the Biro of all throughout the course of this program.  What you’re doing is a big operation.

Christine Keels:  It is.  Like I said, lots of energy, lots of good energy that keeps us going.

Len Sipes:  Well interestingly enough, it’s the energy.  Is it … either one of you can answer this question.  Because look, we’re from the criminal justice system.  It’s a tough system.  It’s not exactly a joyous system.  We have to deal with some tough people and some really tough issues.  And this is probably one of them enlivening activities I’ve been in in my 42 years in the criminal justice system.  The fact that you go into our faith-based celebration and you see hundreds of hundreds of people who have reached out to each other and have helped each other. That’s a positive thing that very few people, Eugene, hear about.  And I think that’s one of the messages that we need to get across today, that this is something positive.

Eugene Schneeberg:  Well Leonard, I get calls and emails from all over the country.  From faith-based organizations, some secular non-profits that are doing great work around reentry.  I can think of none really better than what’s going on here in DC with CSOSA’s faith-based initiative.  It’s really remarkable.   And I think, as we talk about celebration, I think in many of our congregations that sense of community, sense of belonging is what’s at the foundation of faith-based organizations.  So they’re almost designed to be able to embrace folks, and embrace the vulnerable, embrace the broken, and celebrate what we have in common.

Len Sipes:  But am I correct where the White House recognizes the limitations of government.

Eugene Schneeberg:  Of course.

Len Sipes:  The Department of Justice recognizes the limitations of government.  We only have a minute left, who wants it?

Christine Keels:  I’d like to have that minute.

Len Sipes:  Go ahead.

Christine Keels:  In our mentoring and mentor relationships, we have developed 12 special emphasis group, classes and programs that support the relationship between the mentor and the mentee.  So that they can get together and work on the problems together.  We have Celebrate A New Life, which is the men’s relapse prevention program, where the mentor and the mentee engage together in looking at new ways of handling things and looking at other options.  relationship restoration, parenting classes.  In fact this past Tuesday we graduated 43 of our offenders from the program.

Len Sipes:  And that’s always amazing to go to one of those graduations.  Eugene and Chris, thank you very much for being with us on the first half.

Eugene Schneeberg:  Thank you, Leonard.

Len Sipes:  Ladies and gentlemen, watch us on the second as we talk to an actual mentor/mentee combination.  And they’re going to talk about their life with each other and how they’ve been able to assist each other.   We’re also going to open with a piece from Lamont Carey, called The Streets Know My Name.  We’ll be right back.

Lamont Carey:  See today is my first day back on the streets.  And I got a secret to tell because this was a rude awakening for me.  See all them nights that I sat up on that block and dreamed about this day.  Now reality and hope just don’t look the same.  So instantly I’m in a drain.   See this is the first time in my life that I’ve ever felt ashamed.  See I have to go live back at my mother’s house.  And including her, everybody in there, they want me out.  See they say I’m just another mouth to feed and there isn’t no place in there for me to sleep.  And then the streets start to whisper to me, “Lamont, come back.  You ain’t got to live like that.  The streets ain’t changed, you still know this game.”  See, the streets keep calling me by my first name.   And all my buddies I thought was going to take care of me when I came home, now they moving in that cell I just left or they’re dead and gone.   So I’m out here alone trying to fend for myself.  And every time I look in your direction you roll your eyes in your head.  So from you I can’t get no help and then the streets start to whisper to me.  “Lamont, come back.  You ain’t got to live like that.  The streets ain’t changed, you still know this game.”  See, the streets keep calling me by my first name.  And on the day I go to see my parole officer, and she’s telling me that I got to do A, B and C, well she’s going to guarantee me they’re going to take me off the streets.  And all I want to do is say, “Miss, just help me.”  But it seems that she got her guards up like I’m here to try to make her job rough, so I keep my mouth closed and promise myself that I’m going to do as I’m told.  But then the streets start to whisper to me, “Lamont.  Come back.  You ain’t got to live like that.  The streets ain’t changed, you still know this game.”  See, the streets keep calling me by my first name.

Len Sipes:  Hi, ladies and gentleman, welcome back to DC Public Safety.  I remain your host, Leonard Sipes.  We have two unique individuals with us.  We have Artis Thomas.  He’s a person being mentored by our program here at the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency.  And James Fulmer, the mentor, the person who mentors Artis. But wasn’t that a great segment?  We started off with Lamont Carey who gave a two-minute presentation on “The Streets Call My Name.”  And the point behind Lamont’s artistry is the idea that nobody else is there to help him.  Sometimes family members are there and they’re not there.  Sometimes other people are there, but they’re not there.  But the streets always call my name.  The streets are always ready to call the person back to a life of crime. And so Artis, and then to James, I wanted to talk a little bit about that before getting into that piece that we just watched.  James, give me a sense as to why you decided to get involved in the mentoring program.  What church are you with?

James Fulmer:  I’m with Mount Lebanon under Reverend Lionel Edmonds.  Wonderful.  Awesome.

Len Sipes:  And you got involved in mentoring people coming out of the prison system why?  There are a lot of easier people to deal with.

James Fulmer:  Well, first of all, God didn’t pick what people he wanted to be involved with.  And I truly, truly believe that He picked me to be involved with these people.  Because what He did was for me, was brought me up out of the addiction.  What He did was save my soul.

Len Sipes:  Okay.

James Fulmer:  And I have just decided to give back what was freely given to me.

Len Sipes:  So you’ve lived that life, you’ve been there, you’ve been redeemed, you know it’s possible to be redeemed.  And you decided to give that to Artis.

James Fulmer:  Yes.

Len Sipes:  Okay.  So Artis, you were caught up in the criminal justice system?

Artis Thomas:  Quick, fast, in a hurry.  I came up too fast for myself, think you know everything.  Just took matters to my own hands, and then ’til I surrendered to God, I found out that I can’t think for myself, I have to be led.  Which is okay to feel that way, especially when you not living right.

Len Sipes:  Right.

Artis Thomas:  And I’ve been hit with abundance of good joy from going … being in Faith-Based.  Because Faith-Based … what faith based got me is this.  They showed me that I can be shameless.  Talk about myself or the bad things I did to get over it.  Okay.  Then once you start doing that, right, it will direct you to a path where you start being productive.  Then once you start being productive, you get on a cosmic path and you start just seeing things, seeing brighter views of different things.  You’re not thinking like you normally think. And for a lot of us who give Faith-Based a chance to see what it could do for you like it done for me.  I can’t speak of them, but I’m just saying, if they was to give them a chance, Faith-Based really is there for us.

Len Sipes:  If the faith program wasn’t there, Artis, where would you be today?

Artis Thomas:  I would … to be honest … I might, probably be back in jail.  Because for the simple fact I didn’t have nobody to take time, to walk me through my suffering.  Because like the streets say, “It’s easy to swallow you up.”  But I had something else on my mind to keep me from the streets.  Like going to different programs, speaking at different churches with their own faith based, and doing stuff like that got me to win the Mentee of the Year award, all this kind of stuff.  But then there people paying attention to me, hey, this is where I supposed to be.

Len Sipes:  It’s a success story.

Artis Thomas:  Yeah.

Len Sipes:  But let’s go back to that piece that we saw when we were introducing this program by Lamont Carey, The Streets Call My Name.  The streets are always calling the names of people.

Artis Thomas:  And they will always be there.

Len Sipes:  Why not the churches and the synagogues and the mosques?  Why aren’t they calling this individual’s name?

Artis Thomas:  Because we’re not crying out for help and we need to.

Len Sipes:  Okay.

Artis Thomas:  See, when you ask for something, you get it.  But if I sit back and try to handle this myself, I really can’t handle this myself.

Len Sipes:  Well James, how powerful is this concept?  The streets call my name, but we want the churches, and the mosques, and synagogues to call this person’s name.  How difficult is that to pull off?

James Fulmer:  Well first of all I had to surrender to this fact that there is a Savior out there for me.  And when I surrendered, then what I did was start going to church and participating.  And my pastor, I have an awesome leader and a pastor that shows us the way.  And he’s into involvement in the city in trying to help people to do things.

Len Sipes:  Did people know your background when they embraced you?

James Fulmer:  In the church?

Len Sipes:  Yeah.

James Fulmer:  Yes.  They did.

Len Sipes:  So they embraced you regardless?

James Fulmer:  Regardless.

Len Sipes:  Is that the most powerful concept on the face of the earth?

James Fulmer:  That is powerful.  Nobody’s putting you down.

Len Sipes:  Nobody’s calling your name and yet now you’ve got hundreds of people embracing you.

James Fulmer:  Exactly.  And what happens is that we’re able to talk freely about our past to bring this us up to the present.

Len Sipes:  Right.

Artis Thomas:  And that’s a good feeling.  That’s a feeling that we don’t get that much.

Len Sipes:  Right.

Artis Thomas:  When you can talk about your past and don’t nobody hold it against you, and can still show you how to do the right thing, that’s a person you want to connect with.  That’s why this is my mentor right here.  Because … and not just there, I got two of ’em.  I’m greedy, I got two mentors.  Okay.

Len Sipes:  That’s not unusual.

Artis Thomas:  Can I say his name?

Len Sipes:  Sure.  Of course.

Artis Thomas:  His name is [PH] James Butcher.  I got two because I knew it gonna take more than one person to help me out.

Len Sipes:  By the way, we’re running the footage all throughout this program of CSOSA’s faith-based, city-wide celebration.  It is amazing for those of us hard-nosed people within the criminal justice system to go in there and then see hundreds of people redeemed.  That’s just amazing.

Artis Thomas:  ‘Cause I was angry.

Len Sipes:  Because we’re so used to failure and now we see success.

Artis Thomas:  Right.  I was angry.  I thought I couldn’t be a success.  There was so much anger in me that I didn’t know I had, it take someone else to get it out you.

Len Sipes:  Right.

Artis Thomas:  It certainly don’t matter what you did, you can make it.

James Fulmer:  One of the things that I love about Artis is that he was so open to “about change.”

Len Sipes:  Yes.

James Fulmer:  He was participating.  He comes back, even after he graduated.  He graduated two or three times because he sees the need to change.  And then so he’s open to listening to what the program has to offer.  He’s one of the best, easiest guys I’ve worked with, to show them that there is another way.

Len Sipes:  I want to ask what I asked of Eugene and Chris on the first part of the program.  If everybody coming out of the prison system had … was embraced by the church, by the mosque, by the synagogue, if everybody had that support system –

Artis Thomas:  They’ll make it.

Len Sipes:  How would that cut recidivism, people going back to the prison system?

Artis Thomas:  They wouldn’t be going back.  Because you know why?  They be coming out to a welcome.  And somebody that’s looking, know what they went through, know what they’re going through, not holding it against them.  You ain’t gonna find a better spot than Faith-Based.

Len Sipes:  But how difficult is it to get everybody involved?  Because people say, “Leonard, we’ve got kids that need to be taken care of -”

Artis Thomas:  They’ve got to surrender to God.  They’ve got to surrender.

Len Sipes:  “- we’ve got older people, we’ve got unemployed people.  Do you really want me to give this level of effort to people coming out of prison or criminals?”

Artis Thomas:  Okay.  The question is do you want to leave criminals out?  Not should you help the older people, the handicapped people.  If you leave the criminals out, you’re going to get more crime.

James Fulmer:  One of the things that is very outstanding to me, is the President, he did, he put his energy into this program and wanted to put a lot of energy in there.  And it’s the same thing as when I came back home from Vietnam.  Nobody was there for us when we came back.   Now there’s a thing where we need to be there for people coming back from prison.  Because the Faith-Based initiative program is that’s what it has, an open arm to people that is come back from different types of walk.  The war is the same as the war out there in the street.

Len Sipes:  It is a war in terms of what many come from.

James Fulmer:  You understand, it’s a war.  And so to have someone to embrace you and show you that there’s a new way of life that we can have, and we can love each other versus fighting and trying to take from each other.  That there is a way of life through Christ Jesus who saved us to move on to have a better way.

Len Sipes:  Because the alternative is me, my agency, a parole and probation agent, and sporadic help from the family and from friends in the community.  You are the alternative.

James Fulmer:  Exactly.

Len Sipes:  You are the alternative to government.  So who are people who are going to buy into that person who needs assistance coming out of the prison system, that mother who’s trying to reconnect with her kids, who’s trying to shake drugs, that guy who’s trying to find work.  It’s either me or it’s the faith community.  Who would you pick?

Artis Thomas:  I think they should pick their faith.  The reason why I say this you go through the faith because you get some type of spiritual guidance.  See we can’t do it without that.  You got to surrender, you got to submit.  And then when you do that openly, you’ll be tested.  And people are going to talk against you and think you’re not doing the right thing.  Then you just go back and say, “You know what, shoot, that ain’t nothing, [PH] these what’s worse than this.”  So then you’re okay.   You stay on that path.  Keeping going through it.  Things not going to happen when you want.  But like I say, it’s going to happen on God’s time.  He know when He want it to happen for you.

Len Sipes:  One of the points that I wanted to make in terms of the faith community is that we’re also talking about the provision of food, sometimes the provision of shelter, clothing, for job interviews, help for to get a job interview.  There’s a wide array of services.  Some of the institutions are providing drug counseling, Alcoholics Anonymous programs.  So it’s just not the embracement, it’s just not the encouragement, it’s the provisions of programs.  A lot of the mentors are driving the mentees to different job interviews.

James Fulmer:  Exactly.

Artis Thomas:  Right.

James Fulmer:  Those are the things that we … that our faith initiative program has in place.  I facilitate drug abuse and coming into a new way of life.  Going into … providing job interviews for them, providing a list of job places for them to go to apply for new jobs. We have a program set up where we actually talk to them about what they need to — how they need to dress, how they need to put their self together, how they present their self in different programs.  So what we’re trying to do is just show people that there is love out there, and we want to love you.  We want to bring you back and come in and come together as one so that this world can be a better place than it is.

Len Sipes:  Why is the street so powerful, Artis?  Why does the street overwhelm … in some cases, the faith-based institutions [PH] like call of the street.  I’ve talked to people who have said, “Kicking drugs was easy, kicking the corner, kicking the street was impossible.”

Artis Thomas:  Kicking drugs are never easy.  See, he said earlier, love.  The streets don’t show you love.  Streets show you support, or getting something fast.  But when people start being treated with love, that’s something we all need and we all crying for, we all wanting.

Len Sipes:  James, how do we convince the average person that this is something they want to get involved in?  How do we convince people out there with money, people out there with jobs, people out there who could be volunteers?  How do we get them to cross that bridge and to come and work with people coming out of the prison system?

James Fulmer:  What we would really like for people to do is come out and sit with us and talk about what we are really doing.  Come out and actually go to our meetings that we provide to show the people, show them some success stories, and things of that nature to turn their thinking around. There are people out here that are crying for help.

Len Sipes:  Yes.

James Fulmer:  But if we don’t have anybody in place to help them, then we’re going to be lost.  It’s going to be a lost battle.

Len Sipes:  Well I think both of you are an inspiration.  Both of you have told a story of redemption.  Both of you had told a story of struggle.  And now that you here as taxpayers, not tax burdens, now you’re here as solid citizens.  And I think that’s one of the most important things. Artis, we only have just a couple seconds left.  What would you say to the person who is considering getting involved in the faith community?

Artis Thomas:  Okay.  I’d say, “If you was an ex-felon like I was and you really want to change, don’t try to change yourself.  Plug into something, get you a mentor, find you a church, and just wait it out.”

James Fulmer:  I think we just need to just give God all the praise and honor for what our faith-based program is putting out there.  And it’s going to work and it’s going to get better.

Len Sipes:  Gentlemen, thank you.  I really appreciate you being on the show.  Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for watching as we discuss that extraordinarily important issue.  The power of faith, in terms of helping people coming out of the prison system.  Watch for us next time as we address another very important topic in today’s criminal justice system.  And please, have yourselves a very, very pleasant day.

[Video Ends]

 

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