The Role of Faith and Released Prisoners-DC Public Safety

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This radio program is available at http://media.csosa.gov/podcast/audio/2010/07/the-role-of-faith-and-released-prisoners-dc-public-safety/

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[Audio Begins]

Len Sipes:  From the nation’s capital, this is D.C. Public Safety.  I’m your host, Leonard Sipes.  Back at our microphone is Reverend Yvonne Cooper.  She’s here to talk about faith based mentoring and this whole concept of what it’s like to have volunteers sit down with individuals out of the prison system.  What they’re doing to help these individuals readjust to life on the outside of a prison setting.  With her today is Louis Sawyer.  Louis is on parole being supervised by my agency, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, we’re a federal parole and probation agency here in the District of Columbia.  Before we begin the show, the usual commercial, a thank you to everybody.  We are up to 225,000 requests on a monthly basis for D.C. Public Safety, radio, television, and blog, and transcripts.  We really appreciate your comments.  We live by your comments, whether they’re negative or positive, and we really, really, really super appreciate them.  If you want to get in touch with me directly, you can do so by emailing me, Leonard, L-E-O-N-A-R-D – dot-sipes – S-I-P-E-S – @csosa.gov, or you can follow us via twitter at twitter.com/lensipes.  Back to our guest, Reverend Yvonne Cooper and Louis Sawyer.  Welcome to D.C. Public Safety, Yvonne and Louis.

Yvonne Cooper:  Thank you so very much!

Len Sipes:  It’s always fun when you’re on the program, Yvonne.  There’s never a dull moment.  You are enthused, you are charged up about what it is that you do, and you’re an inspiration to the rest of us who plod through, sometimes those of us who are paid to do this, we plod through this at a certain point.  Sometimes our enthusiasm wanes, sometimes our enthusiasm is not as it should be, your level of enthusiasm is always at peak level.  Why is that?

Yvonne Cooper:  Well –

Len Sipes:  And you don’t get paid to do this.

Yvonne Cooper:  No, I do not!  No, I do not.  You know, God has placed on my heart to help those who can’t help themselves.  I’d like to call it the least, the limited, and the lost, and so I’m so excited that the Lord thought it not a robbery to choose me, even me, a former wretch like me, to help some other folk that have come through the trenches, because I too have gone through the trenches, having been there, done that, former felon myself, or felon, I guess I should say, and I’m just so glad that I had that experience, because had I not had that, I would not be doing the work that I do, so I’m excited.

Len Sipes:  You wouldn’t be doing this work if you hadn’t had that experience, if you hadn’t been part of the criminal justice system, if you hadn’t been incarcerated yourself, you wouldn’t be doing it?

Yvonne Cooper:  I’m pretty sure I would not have been involved.  I thought of criminals as “those people,” but when I had the opportunity to be imprisoned myself as a convicted felon, I learned that I was more like them than different, so it’s because of that experience that I do what I do today.

Len Sipes:  And I think one of the reasons we do the radio shows, and one of the reasons we do the television shows is sometimes to put a human face on the individual that we call an offender of what most people would simply refer to as criminal.

Yvonne Cooper:  Sure.

Len Sipes:  Because they read the newspapers, they watch the evening news, and every day, there’s endless litany of people under supervision, or formerly under supervision doing terrible things to other human beings, and that’s how they derive their image of “criminal.”  One of the things that’s always surprised me is that once you sit across from, again, I’ve been in the criminal justice system 40 years.  I’ve worked with offender, people under supervision, or the offender population for a lot of those years.  So I understand that they’re just, they’re no different from you and I.

Yvonne Cooper:  Amen.

Len Sipes:  There’s a certain point that once they get beyond their criminality, and once they get beyond their drug use, they’re pretty much not any different between you and I.

Yvonne Cooper:  That’s right.

Len Sipes:  Yet the average person carries that stereotype, and that stereotype sticks.

Yvonne Cooper:  That’s right.

Len Sipes:  And that’s one of the reasons why we don’t have the drug treatment.  That’s one of the reasons why, in my opinion, one of the reasons why we don’t have all the programs we need.

Yvonne Cooper:  Certainly, certainly.  Oh, I agree with you 100%, Lenny, but it is because of people like me and programs that are out there, that think it necessary to help our population to return back to society as a whole person.  They’ve had so many challenges, most times, even before they went in, and so certainly, they’re going to have an abundance of problems when they come home.  We look at today’s times, the issue of jobs is so hard for Joe Q. Citizen, and it’s doubly hard for those that have been incarcerated.  Not just jobs, but even housing, those kinds of things, and so it is very important, at this particular time, that we help those who have come home, and, you know, as you, I don’t need to say this to you, CSOSA being in place because of the fact that we don’t have a facility here in Washington D.C. –

Len Sipes:  We don’t have a federal prison –

Yvonne Cooper:  A federal prison, thank you so much, a federal prison.

Len Sipes:  Offenders from Washington D.C. go to federal prison for the people, let’s look at this –

Yvonne Cooper:  All over the country.  And so, yeah.  So I’m excited about doing this work.

Len Sipes:  Louis Sawyer, you’re on parole.  You’re under the supervision of my agency, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency.  You’ve returned to the District of Columbia on February 9, 2010.  That’s a very short amount of time ago.  How long did you spend in prison?

LOUIS SAWYER:  Well, first of all, I want to thank you, Lenny, for the opportunity that you’ve given to come and to speak to you and your listeners –

Len Sipes:  And I thank you for participating.

LOUIS SAWYER:  And I would like to say a shout out to your listeners.

Len Sipes:  Well, there you go.  There you go.

LOUIS SAWYER:  Yes, and I came home after doing 25 years –

Len Sipes:  It’s a long time.

LOUIS SAWYER:  – on February 9, 2010, and I’m grateful unto God that he’s allowed me to come back to the city to be part of the re-entry of the returning citizens.

Len Sipes:  But that’s, most people who’ve spent that amount of time in prison, who come back tell me that it is a really difficult process of spending 25 years in prison, and then come back.  That’s, a lot of people find that almost impossible to do.

LOUIS SAWYER:  Well, in my daily reading this morning, it talked about the IM out of impossible and making it possible.  With God, all things are possible.  So I am a firm believer that 25 years was like a time in which it was needed for me, as an individual, because I could have been dead in my grave and on my way to hell and have died in my sins, but I thank God, because he allowed me to go through that, and this being the 25 years that I served was a, chapter one in my book, to come out and to be a better citizen, to be a catalyst to those who are coming behind me to be able to be that individual, to circumvent all the negativity, and to make sure that things are better.

Len Sipes:  Two things are crossing my mind.  Number one, your faith.  Obviously, you’re an individual of faith, and one of the things that I’ve found about a lot of people, if not most people, who cross that bridge, as I put it, from tax burden to taxpayer, a lot of it is faith.  A lot of it is faith in a higher power, and to us as a federal agency, it doesn’t matter to us whether it’s Christianity, it doesn’t matter whether it’s the Muslim religion, it doesn’t matter if it’s Catholicism, it doesn’t matter.  Most people who seem to do well express a sense of an allegiance, an alliance with God, and that helps them move through society, it helps strengthen them, and helps them deal with drugs, adversity, jobs, family, that sort of thing.  Am I right or wrong?

LOUIS SAWYER:  Well, let me concur with you on that, Lenny.  There is a higher power, and it’s God Almighty in my life, and I also believe that family is essential, along with the church family, along with mentors, along with advisors, along with counselors that have given you, given me a support network, a foundation, and without these individuals, God being at the head, family and church family and mentors and counselors and advisors, then I could not have been in this successful realm in which God has allowed me to be so far.

Len Sipes:  Now I do want to talk to you about these statistics about people coming back from prison because they’re not very good.  A lot of people fail.  A lot of people return to the criminal justice system outside of prison.  So I do want to talk with you about that, but Yvonne, talk to me a little bit more about faith, and again, that’s a delicate issue for us.  We’re a federal agency –

Yvonne Cooper:  Certainly.

Len Sipes:  – we have no interest in promoting any particular religion, but without the faith based volunteers, and without the individual religious convictions of the individuals who seem to do well, my fear is that many more people, many additional people coming out of the prison system would not succeed.

Yvonne Cooper:  Certainly.  Well, you’re absolutely correct.  I have found, in my work, that as a result of a faith base, most people who succeed are those that have had that faith to hold on to, be it Christianity, be it Muslim, be it Catholic, it does not matter.  The faith is the key element in my mind’s eye.  Now as you know, I am a Christian, but I work with everybody, because the Bible tells that God would have not one to be lost, and so I’m excited when I’ve learned that somebody has held on to some kind of spirituality base, and they have the spirituality base.  That makes all the difference in the world.  I mean, you’re absolutely correct, and all those other components are important, but the faith piece is more important to me than anything else.

Len Sipes:  You’re a pastor at Allen Chapel, AME Church.

Yvonne Cooper:  Associate minister, yes.

Len Sipes:  Associate minister.  www.amamc.org, www.amamc.org is the website for the Allen Chapel AME Church in Southeast Washington D.C.

Yvonne Cooper:  Yes.

Len Sipes:  You know, most people who are either Christian or who are Muslim or who are Jewish don’t mentor to offenders.  And it gets back to that larger issue of how society views people out of the prison system, and you know, if you hadn’t been, you said it yourself, if you hadn’t had the experience of being incarcerated yourself, you may not be mentoring to Louis today.

Yvonne Cooper:  That’s correct.

Len Sipes:  So we have this view, regardless of whether we’re churchgoers or not, that those people have committed horrible things, and they’ve harmed society, they’ve harmed their families, they’ve harmed other people, and you know, they tell me, Mr. Sipes, look, quite frankly, I’d rather volunteer in the schools, or I’d rather volunteer to the elderly.  I’d rather do other things besides mentor to offenders.

Yvonne Cooper:  Well, that’s true.  That’s unfortunate.  I might have shared this with you before, Lenny, but for me, as a Christian, just, and I’ll just drop this on you for just a few moments, the prison system originated in the church, where God had put in place cities of refuge when people committed crimes, and so we move along the line, I believe it was the Mormons, Mormons or something like that –

Len Sipes:  It, it was –

Yvonne Cooper:  – started the first church –

Len Sipes:  Oh, For the Love of Heavens, it was in Pennsylvania –

Yvonne Cooper:  In Pennsylvania, right, and that’s still churchy, if you will, and so for me, it makes sense that the church would go back and make a difference.  I mean, that faith piece is very necessary.  You look at this.  When we, when I was out on the street –

Len Sipes:  The Puritans, I apologize.

Yvonne Cooper:  The Puritans, that’s what it was.

Len Sipes:  I knew I had it.

Yvonne Cooper:  Absolutely.  Absolutely correct.  When I was out on the street, and Louis, too, most of us, we were out on the street, there were no four walls.  I mean, the world was our, was there for us, and we can do anything we wanted to, but when we went to prison, it was nothing but four walls, and so we had to sit down and listen, because somebody was there talking about faith.  It was the Muslims coming in, it was Catholics coming in, it was Christian Protestants coming in, and so there was somebody to listen, and they had our attention, and so consequently, some of us had a sense enough to listen, and praise God, when we came out, we were looking at the world in a different color eyes, with different color shades, if you will, and so we’re seeing things a lot different than we were, because before, I wasn’t saved myself, and so it was not until I went to prison that I gave my life to God, and so I had sense enough to, you know, to listen up.  And so the faith piece is very important.

Len Sipes:  Well it’s very dicey and delicate for an agency like ours, being a federal agency, to take on the faith based role, and even talk about the faith based role, because there’s always inevitably people who are going to object to it, succinctly saying, Leonard, you’re a federal agency, but it strikes me that the federal government, or any government entity is limited, is extremely limited in terms of what it is that we can do to reach the hearts and minds of individuals.  What happens is, in terms of the faith community, is that this individual comes out of prison, and he or she is surrounded by individuals who help meet their basic needs, whether it be clothing, whether it be food, whether it be a place to live, whether it be fellowship, whether it be getting a suit for a job interview, whether it’s taking care of the kids, the faith community in Washington D.C. and the faith community throughout this country does that sort of thing, so not only do they provide services, but I can’t help but feel that, for so many people caught up in the criminal justice system, their lives have been very difficult.  There’s a lot of abuse.  There’s a lot of neglect.  For female offenders, there’s an ungodly amount of sexual violence –

Yvonne Cooper:  Certainly.

Len Sipes:  – committed towards them.  A lot of offenders are claiming mental health issues.  If you sit and talk to the individuals caught up in the criminal justice system, and I’m not making excuses for their criminal behavior.  If you do the crime, you do the time.  Fine.  So I’ll say that before the emails come in.  But the issue is, is that they’re really struggling with life’s issues.  Early age of onset for alcohol use, early age of onset for crime use, dropping out, drug use, dropping out of school early, criminal activity, these are individuals who desperately need what another faith based leader called “a gang for good.”

Yvonne Cooper:  You talk about people before they go to prison, but I use Louis as an example, and he can speak to that himself.  Louis, I’m not sure when Louis was saved, before he went to prison, or once he got there, but I have never seen a person that I’ve worked with to embrace the Lord in the way that he embraces him in this sense, that he puts his entire trust in God.  I don’t care what it is, when he was looking for a job, when he was looking for housing, when he was looking for clothing, he was putting his entire trust in God.  He is an example of a person who really has put all of his trust in God, and it’s because of his faith.  Again, I understand, and I appreciate the fact that there are other religions out there as well, but I can only talk about Louis and Christianity right now, so Louis maybe should address that fact.

Len Sipes:  And we are, we’re going to get together and spend probably the next half of the program with Louis, but wanted to reintroduce the program, because we are halfway through already.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is D.C. Public Safety.  I’m your host, Leonard Sipes.  We’re doing a program on faith based mentoring.  Back at our microphones, you have Reverend Yvonne Cooper of the Allen Chapel AME Church in Southeast Washington D.C., www.amamc.org.  With Yvonne today is Louis Sawyer.  Louis is on parole with my agency, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency.  He’s been out after 25 years in prison, came out on February 9, 2010.  Louis, the second half of the show is going to be almost exclusively yours.  So you come out, and you’ve got this sense of faith.  Where did you have this sense of faith?  Where did you have this sense of faith?  Where did that sense of faith come from?

LOUIS SAWYER:  Well, Lenny, before I went in, I was a –

Len Sipes:  In the microphone, please.

LOUIS SAWYER:  I was a member of a church, but the church wasn’t in me, and when you have a religion, but you don’t have spirituality, or you’re missing something, and because of the fact of the Allen Chapel AME church with pastor Michael E. Bell, Sr. and Reverend Yvonne Cooper as the director of the missing links ministry, which is very, very insightful for those who are coming in and looking for employment, looking for housing, looking for clothing, looking for transportation, these are the items, the basic needs that our returning citizens are looking for, and when you have a church, members of the church, such as Allen Chapel AME, who extend their love, who extend their gratitude, extend a warm arm of affection, and they welcome you in, not concerned with your charges, not concerned how long you’ve been in prison, none of that, when they show the love of Jesus in their hearts, and they do for those who don’t even know you, and I experienced that the first Sunday I went, which is the first Sunday in March, and I’ve received that, and I thank God for the opportunity to be a part, and when you have that base, when you have that foundation, then how can you go wrong?  And then you have people that’s going to surround you, that’s going to be a part of your transformation, and being reintegrated back into society.

Len Sipes:  But I started –

LOUIS SAWYER:  You think that.

Len Sipes:  I started off the program with talking about Yvonne’s faith, Yvonne’s enthusiasm, Yvonne being up for this task, so many of us within the criminal justice system, there’s a certain point we’re beaten down by it.  We’ve seen so many people who we’ve tried to help not allow themselves to be helped.  We’ve seen so many people who we’ve emotionally been involved in go back to prison.  It’s a difficult system.  I mean, most, according to national statistics, most people go back to the criminal justice system, half go back to the criminal justice system, a higher percentage were re-arrested, but half go back to prison, either for technical violations, or a new crime.  So the issue is, is that, you know, there’s just a sense of, you have your faith, what happened to everybody else?

LOUIS SAWYER:  Well, let’s look at the statistics, since we’re talking statistics.  We know that when you have an entity, such as family, and church families, which is the Allen Chapel AME Church, and they surround you, and they do what they can, we can only know that for myself, going back to prison is not an option for me.  Whatever the circumstances is, God is ahead of me, and I believe that when you grasp that opportunity, when you grasp that knowledge, you know that there is no failure in him.  So all of my help comes from him.  So that is the basis, the core.

Len Sipes:  Okay, and everybody else –

LOUIS SAWYER:  Well, I can’t speak for everyone else, Lenny.

Len Sipes:  But somebody, somebody has to!  I mean, I’m struggling with this issue, because if it was as simple as you say it is, then the federal government would hire and pay, and there would go the enthusiasm, because it’s the enthusiasm of the volunteers that I’m really impressed by, but okay, then we solved the crime problem in this country.  All we have to do is to fund volunteers and have sufficient numbers of volunteers, and all we have to do is to place some sort of religiosity and people inside the prison system, and we dramatically cut back on recidivism.  I mean, somehow, some way, we’ve got to explain to the public, okay, for Louis, it works, and for a lot of other people, it does work, but for a lot of other people, it doesn’t, and how, what do we tell them?

LOUIS SAWYER:  Well, first and foremost, you have to look at it in not being religiosity, if that’s how you –

Len Sipes:  Yeah.

LOUIS SAWYER:  If you look at it in that aspect, then you’re going to fail.  But if you look at it from a spiritual perspective, because there is a difference between religion and spirituality.

Len Sipes:  Okay, so your bottom line is God saves across the board, whether it’s a Muslim God or Christian God, or Jewish God, it’s that sense of faith that is going to be the making or breaking point in terms of people coming out of the prison system.

LOUIS SAWYER:  It’s a belief factor.  You have to believe that God sent his son, and because of that, the salvation is free to anyone who receives him as Lord and Savior.  Now when you put your faith in him, Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then nothing else is going to deter you from that.  Sometimes we have to let go and let God.  Many of us tend to hold on to our own idiosyncrasies, but when you release that and believe that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we can ever ask or imagine, then we as a community can rally around that and believe that.

Len Sipes:  But I’m going to go back to Yvonne and go back to you, Louis.  Yvonne, the answer can’t be that simple.  So, okay, everybody else doesn’t believe in God.  Somehow, some way, there’s got to be a larger, greater explanation for why so many people return to the criminal justice system.  I do, by the way, just my own personal belief is that if we were able to quadruple the number of volunteers, and if every individual who came out of prison was assigned, didn’t ask for, was assigned mentors, and there were multiple mentors, our recidivism rate would go down, but that’s not the case.  There’s only so many of you guys, people have to ask for the mentors, a mentor/mentee relationship.  It just strikes me that, is there a lesson for the rest of the criminal justice system in all of this?

Yvonne Cooper:  Well, you know, you mentioned earlier that people, people get a little turned around or distressed that, as mentors, when so many people return back to crime, and I will say this to that, Lenny, I understand that, but you have to have a commitment and understand that, even if you just save one, and I know Jesus left the 99 to go after the one, so if you just save one, and so even if you just save one, and that person don’t go back, to me, that is a win-win situation.  But with respect to what you said, I hear Louis, and I agree with him wholeheartedly.  However, I broadened my thoughts in this sense that it is my job, in my mind’s eye, that I would want to make sure nobody goes back to prison, so I embrace the religion that a person has, whoever they believe in, be it Muslim or whatever, I embrace them, because it’s important to me, first of all, we want to introduce Jesus to folk, but you, I’ll use this as an example.  I will tell a woman that I want to help her, so a woman who’s been in prison, I want to help her, and I can’t, she can’t see Jesus if she can’t feed her children.  And so they want to see something first, and so I want these people to see me helping them, whatever religion they have, and then prayerfully, I can lead them to Jesus Christ, but first, I want to keep them whole, and I want them to stay home, and I want to keep them whole, so they need to have something to hold on to, and if it is the Muslim faith, well then so be it, let it be the Muslim faith.  I don’t have a problem with that.

Len Sipes:  I apologize for being so terribly callous after 40 years being involved in the criminal justice system, the faith movement within the re-entry movement is probably one of the most inspiring things personally that I’ve seen in my 40 years within the system.  I embrace it fully.  I embrace it wholeheartedly, but that’s not the point.  The point is, is that we got Louis, and Louis is doing well.  I’m just curious about what we do with everybody else who’s out there struggling with drugs, struggling with employment, struggling with themselves, struggling with their own histories, you know, it’s easy for me to say, well, heavens, find faith, but that’s not a magic wand that you can wave over somebody.

LOUIS SAWYER:  Well Lenny, let me share something with you.  This is very important point that Reverend Cooper, my mentor at the Allen Chapel AME Church, along with Pastor Bell, you don’t have that.  If you had every church, every synagogue, every temple, every mosque that had a pastor, had an imam, had a faith based leader like that, then you would have, not the problems that you would have.  I would have to say that I’m jumping out there, but I’d have to say that if they had shown, if others would show their concern as Reverend Cooper and Pastor Bell showed, then we might not have the recidivism rate as high as it is in the nation’s capital, but we have to look at –

Len Sipes:  Or anywhere else in the country.

LOUIS SAWYER:  This is true.  But being that I’m in Washington D.C., I’m going to stay here.  And the statistics will prove that when you give that person, that returning citizen, an opportunity to look to something, when you provide transportation, housing, employment, medical, clothing, when you show the love, when you extend the love, and when you let them know that, hey, it’s okay, I’m here for you, the mentoring aspect, and we really look at the terminology of mentoring, and when we look at it in its entirety, we must realize that it’s a whole encompass of things, it’s not just one phase, it’s the greet the person when they come in –

Len Sipes:  It’s a gang!

LOUIS SAWYER:  It’s a what?

Len Sipes:  It’s a gang!

LOUIS SAWYER:  It’s a gang?

Len Sipes:  I mean the whole, there’s so many individuals caught up in the criminal justice system were raised by gangs.  They raised themselves, and they’ve been surrounded by a gang structure.  Now we have a gang for good.  It is all embracing.  It is a group.  It is one for all and all for one.  I mean, we have a criminal gang that’s dysfunctional and does a lot of destruction.  We have a religious gang that does a lot of good.

LOUIS SAWYER:  Well, let me say this also, Lenny, that there’s two words that I have used and have applied in my life from the time that I’ve received the sentence until the time I was released was the initiative and persistence, and if you take the initiative to do what is right, and you look towards being persistent in doing it, in being to the point where failure is not an option, and to touch base and to connect and to network with those organizations and those people who are about something, I’m sure that when you put 100% of your time and effort, 24 hours, 7 days a week into it, then you don’t have any time for negativity.

Len Sipes:  Well, that’s true, but again, I’m, and we’re in the closing minutes of the program, and I do want to just, I guess, my never-ending concern, and will be the never-ending concern until the day I die, is I take a look at people like you, Louis, and I’m saying, okay, thank god for people like Reverend Cooper, thank god for Louis, but daggonit, why can’t we reach everybody else?  And that’s the closing moments of the program.  I just, Louis, are you doing well?

LOUIS SAWYER:  Thanks be to God, I am doing outstanding.

Len Sipes:  And so life is decent, life is acceptable, and your chances of going back to drugs and prison?

LOUIS SAWYER:  Well, I’ve never done drugs.

Len Sipes:  Okay.

LOUIS SAWYER:  Never done drugs, but prison is not an option, but I’m very content with the way the life that God has allowed me to live, and even though I’m still looking for employment, but God is able, and when time comes for me to get employment, then that will be my time.

Len Sipes:  And for those people listening in to this program in the D.C. area who have job offers contact us through the points that I’ve just given you.  Reverend Yvonne Cooper, god, I love having you with these microphones –

Yvonne Cooper:  God bless you.  God bless you.

Len Sipes:  I really enjoy just sitting across from you and having these discussions.  Final thoughts?

Yvonne Cooper:  Well, I thank you so much, Lenny, for the opportunity.  When I contacted you about Louis, you were excited.  I got you as excited as I was, and so I thought he would be a good candidate.

Len Sipes:  I love success stories.  I absolutely adore success stories.

Yvonne Cooper:  He’s just awesome.  I mean, he’s an awesome man of God, and I’ve, his faith is just extraordinary, and so I wanted others to hear about his faith, and I think he did a stupendous job here today.

Len Sipes:  We’re out of time.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is D.C. Public Safety.  Our guest today, Reverend Yvonne Cooper of the Allen Chapel AME Church in Southeast Washington D.C., www.amamc.org.  With her, Louis Sawyer, under our supervision at Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency.  If you have a job to give to Louis, now’s the time to get in touch with us.  You can do so directly at Leonard, L-E-O-N-A-R-D – dot-sipes – S-I-P-E-S – @csosa.gov, or follow us on twitter, twitter.com/lensipes.  We really appreciate all of your comments, most of you comment in the regular comment boxes, but we get the emails, and we get the twitter followings, and we are grateful, and we want everybody to have themselves a very, very pleasant day.

Yvonne Cooper:  Amen!

LOUIS SAWYER:  Thank you, Lenny!

[Audio Ends]

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