Tag Archives: #mentalhealth

Violence Behind Bars Is Inescapable & Traumatizing…

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries operates under the fact that prisons do not disappear social problems, they disappear human beings.

Violence Behind Bars Is Inescapable & Traumatizing…

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries understands that as we sojourn with our Beautiful Jesus back inside our state prison facilities; with society’s obsession with punishment, our job is to also help society understand that cages and violent justice only perpetuates violence and IT WILL NOT break the cycle of evil and/or deliver any healing.

If today’s offender will be tomorrow’s neighbor, prison may be necessary for a time, but it is not a solution to evil and crime.

God has showered us with heaven’s rain seeing goodness overcome evil through forgiveness as relationships between victims, offenders, families and staff have become reconciled and restored.

But…

If justice is accomplished by solely locking a person up in prison as punishment, how can we expect that this will somehow accomplish a betterment of a person who has done evil or even make our communities safer?

Incarcerated beloveds rarely return back to society as a morally better person. They usually re-enter society more broken and damaged than before incarceration.

Regardless of the conditions of the confinement or adaptation of incarceration to institutionalized life, our prisons DO NOT make “bad” men and women “good.” Prisons do not overcome or erase the evil that lurks within the human heart. That takes the power of healing, transformation and redemption.

With our state prisons being in lockdown this year due to COVID-19 leading to isolation, suffering in silence, Blameless understands the importance of shifting the narrative by bringing awareness to what our incarcerated go through. This includes the violence they’re subjected to at times, how and why prisons are factories of racism, the mundane nature of it all, along with sharing that there’s not an easy six-to-eight-week course program that one can take that will deliver healing results.

It’s going to take extra grace and commitment establishing relationships, finding the need behind the need, what triggers their behaviors for accountability purposes, and start pulling down layer by layer of the traumas associated with their lives and crimes.

Our incarcerated lives matter and they have value. They are more than worth the time and commitment needed for healing and restoration.

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries understands what these eyes see now matter.  Adverse childhood experiences and traumas surround incarcerated lives.
https://www.blamelessandforeverfreeministries.org/single-post/violence-behind-bars-is-inescapable-traumatizing

Every life matters…

This article and new report by Prison Policy is too important not to start off with taking bits and pieces for a good week to talk about. This is prison life.

We have had increased suicides. We have had significant rioting and killings. Suffering in silence increases mental illness and rage. They have suffered sickness and death due to COVID. The anxiety is real and it’s powerful. It’s dark and it will slay you if you’re not careful.

The plague of violence behind bars is often overlooked and ignored. And when it does receive public attention, a discussion of the effects on those forced to witness this violence is almost always absent.

Most people in prison want to return home to their families without incident, and without adding time to their sentences by participating in further violence. But during their incarceration, many people become unwilling witnesses to horrific and traumatizing violence, as brought to light in a February publication by Professors Meghan Novisky and Robert Peralta.

Participants reported witnessing frequent, brutal acts of violence, including stabbings, attacks with scalding substances, multi-person assaults, and murder. They also described the lingering effects of witnessing these traumatic events, including hypervigilance, anxiety, depression, and avoidance.

We can never lose sight of the fact that “these traumatic events affect health and social function in ways that are not so different from the aftereffects faced by survivors of direct violence and war.”

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries believes that human suffering could connect all of us if only we had the courage to share in it .

We pray after reading this study from Prison Policy, you understand a glimpse of what our incarcerated beloveds are subjected to. This way maybe you’ll become a recipient of such incredible and amazing grace yourself that you respond to offenders beyond a “tit for tat” and “eye for eye” justice. Click here…

Until next time…

Encountering Homelessness in 2019

Happy New Year!

2019 Is The Year Of The Voice

I struggled to get off the jam-packed freeway full of road rage and weary drivers that found themselves parked instead of moving forward.  Here it was 6:45 p.m. and I needed to get my life-sustaining heart meds before 7:00 because the pharmacy closed its steel doors at the strike of the 7:00 hour and would be closed for the next two days. 

Once I got off the freeway, there was no way possible to maneuver over four lanes in enough time to turn into the pharmacy’s parking lot so I was forced to travel another bumper-to-bumper half-mile to perform a U-turn.  Amazingly, the light connected with my anxiety and turned green, rushing me into the parking lot with just a few minutes spare to run in and get my prescriptions. 

As I leaped out of my car, I was stopped, even bullied and challenged by an unknown homeless man who was adamant that I give him a couple of bucks. 

You see, in my city, the City of Roseville, I refuse to put up with panhandling.  It’s a distraction.  It initiates fear and crime and there’s ABSOLUTELY NO NEED FOR IT! 

I have even been known to stop in the middle of an intersection to get them to move on.  It’s not that I lack compassion; after all, I run a homeless organization, but it’s just that we have many resources available and their panhandling is an excuse and becomes an eyesore.

I work hard to help guide and direct them to get tapped into alternative resources and get off the streets. 

It’s hard for reality to prevail over guilt!

When encountering panhandlers, I instinctively stop what I’m doing and give them the lowdown of who I am, how and why I run an organization catered specifically to helping love on the homeless, and if they are hungry, I will buy them food.  I then pray over them, give them my business card, and tell them that if I come back in the next hour and still see them panhandling, I will have them arrested. 

You might find that harsh given my heart pours out the love of Jesus into these individuals daily, but if the services we offer don’t suffice, then it’s obvious they’re only looking for a quick fix related to drugs and/or alcohol.

This man was the FIRST AND ONLY HOMELESS individual who didn’t pack up and leave.  Sadly, he felt his fear tactics and threats to kill would influence me otherwise. 

I challenged him with his futile threats to go ahead (not the brightest move admittedly), but I’m ready to meet my savior, Jesus Christ, at any time so it didn’t really matter.

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Blameless and Forever Free Ministries is praying that 2019 initiates a new attitude and compassion for stabilization regarding our homeless epidemic. 

Being the founder of Blameless, I want to be very honest here.  In working to stabilize our homelessness through God’s Great Love, I humbly admit I get frustrated and quite offended when I encounter panhandlers.  Giving them “money” is defeating our arduous work!  It’s much easier to trigger sympathy than to seek help.

Mental illness is the main precursor of homelessness; addiction, depression, psychosis, abuse, rejection, and abandonment issues are the leading causes, but a lot of homelessness has to do with shame and guilt and the need for guidance to get reestablished back into society. 

I don’t like seeing the makeup of my town changing because homelessness is out of control, and everywhere you look they’re either lined up around our stores or in parking lots panhandling or passed out in our parks while depleting our fire and law enforcement resources.

Blameless Homeless Rite-Aid

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Please don’t encourage Panhandling!

There are many ways you can help and we need a village of people to come together and help combat this Goliath.  Please don’t encourage panhandling by offering money; but instead, as you encounter homeless beloveds, acknowledge their presence with eye contact and a warm smile and maybe even say “good morning.”  Being affirmed builds worth and a sense of belonging.

You could offer to buy them a sandwich or burger along with a milk.  A used bike and metal cart is invaluable. 

Another idea is sharing you are tight on money, but could they use laundromat tokens or clothing?  Share with them you’ll go home and be right back with a few things and/or buy tokens with laundry detergent. 

Better yet, donate to charitable nonprofits like Blameless that deal with homelessness.

Here is a glimpse of one homeless beloved who wanted to go to the laundromat for his birthday…

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I personally have found that the most significant treasure was asking if I could pray for them.  Praying over an individual offers hope and a sprinkling of love that someone actually acknowledges their presence and took the time to pray for them.

Being the hands and feet of God encourages the homeless that they’re seen and their lives matter.  This is the way our communities can come together along with the homeless and help find a remedy to stabilize and tackle this epidemic.

God is going to do mighty things in 2019 and tackling this homelessness is going to be one of them. 

Happy New Year!  May God be with you, keep you safe and bless your generosity.

 

Until next time…

Thank You For Being Beautiful You!