Tag Archives: #prison

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries Responds to COVID-19

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries Tammy Ingram Founder responds to COVID-19

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries Responds To COVID-19

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries continues to keep a close eye on the COVID-19 virus and its active spread. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) provide more information and updates on the coronavirus and its increase in spread, Blameless and Forever Free Ministries has canceled and postponed all upcoming events scheduled up through May 1, 2020.

With the CDCR placing all California State Prisons under lockdown, if you have further concerns or questions regarding COVID-19, you may contact the CDCR through email at COVID19@cdcr.ca.gov and they will direct all inquiries to the appropriate division.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has issued a COVID-19 Preparedness as follows:

As of March 17, 2020, there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within CDCR institutions.

“Effective March 18, no volunteers or rehabilitative program providers will be allowed to enter state prison until further notice.

All rehabilitative programs, group events, and in-person education classes are cancelled.

The Office of Correctional Education is working to provide in-cell educational programs so as to not interrupt educational credit-earning.

The Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) will postpone all parole suitability hearings through March 20.

All Interstate Compact Agreement transfers of out-of-state parolees or inmates to California will cease for 30 days.

CDCR has activated an email box, COVID19@cdcr.ca.gov, to answer questions from the public, employees, and stakeholders related to COVID-19. This email address will be monitored and questions will be directed to the appropriate divisions.

CDCR’s inmate telephone network provider Global Tel Link (GTL) has offered the adult incarcerated population two days of free phone calls: from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Thursday, March 19, and 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Thursday, March 26. The youth within the Division of Juvenile Justice already receive free phone calls.”

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries Tammy Ingram Founder Hebrews 13.3

Please continue to pray for those incarcerated, their families and our correctional staff.

Blameless and Forever Free Ministries will continue to monitor any and all updates and keep you informed.

Until next time…

At least we have some good news: As of March 17, 2020, there are currently no “confirmed” cases of COVID-19 within CDCR institutions. Thank you, Jesus!

Relational Justice

Blameless Prison Doors

Relational Justice

When you think of offenders doing time for their crimes in state prison, what is your initial response?  Losers?  Criminals?  Drug addicts?  Who cares?

Who ends up in our prison system anyways?  Do we even care?  Or does our prison system take care of that for us? 

Being honest, I admit to being hypocritical; once considering them all vile through my own lens of judgment and condemnation until the Lord allowed a crisis to enter my own life to see who really exists inside this dark and dangerous dungeon. 

Their precious lives matter!

Realizing our prison system is broken and filled with the same repeat offenders, you know, the individuals who went to prison, served their time, got released, re-offended, and then goes back to prison and starts the whole process again; something needs to change.

If we’re all a part of each person’s contribution to society, good or bad, our hearts need compassion through awareness of what an incarcerated beloved goes through.

Being the founder of Blameless and Forever Free Ministries, I know personally who ends up in our prison system:  Hurt people!  Hurt people hurt others!  When wounds stemming from childhood traumas or other hurts are never healed, other vices/actions often become the crutch in dealing with triggers and pain that’s been holding them captive in a torturing cell of hell.

Imagine being shackled in your own cell of hell while serving time behind bars in prison. We’re not negating the pain these prisoners have caused to others, but we’re sharing being caged up like an animal without rehabilitation is only going to make wounded hearts hardened and calloused. This leads them to continue to hurt others, even inside the prison walls.

 

I’ve experienced personally what unhealed pain has caused; the tearing apart of my own family along with hurting another and their family all in the name of fighting.  My son is being released from Folsom State Prison this year.  He has completed serving time for his crime and considers his incarceration a blessing in disguise.

But is society going to accept him back into population with open arms as he transitions or are the flaming arrows and emotional daggers going to penetrate deeper into an already wounded soul through discrimination, obstacles and judgment?

Relational Judgment

What many beloveds don’t realize is what our prisoners go through once they’re released and why rehabilitation is not only vital for our incarcerated, but for society as a whole.

Without transformation from rehabilitation, the incarcerated will never receive the opportunity to succeed with the many obstacles they face, and society will continue to absorb the cost, monetarily and/or possibly with lives, producing more victims leading us nowhere except entangled in this vicious cycle of broken people.

Suffering doesn’t have to lead us to constant failures where frustration and bitterness develops, but it should lead us instead into creative forces for positive changes.  That is transformation.  It can’t take place with just the offenders solely through long-standing punishment, society needs to play a proactive, integral role in transformation.  We are all a part of the solution and need to change.

Transformation is a process, not an overnight conversion and/or purpose.  Changing the way we utilize our prisons so people come out rehabilitated and not worse than what led them there in the first place is vital in building and giving hope to our prisoners.

 

Blameless State Prison Grounds
 

How can we do this?

Being the founder of Blameless, I sure don’t have all the answers, but I’m proactively working with the incarcerated and governmental entities and community members to help find the need behind the need and set up a plan of attack to help contribute to the lives that need help. Blameless believes not doing anything due to fear of failure is not acceptable when many lives are at stake.

With my 20 years experience in the law field, being a chaplain, serving on Folsom State Prison’s Inmate Family Council along with sharing the gospel with the incarcerated and their families, Blameless is now transitioning its focus towards the rehabilitation side and reentry programs for the incarcerated.

This is Blameless’ contribution to help stabilize the homeless epidemic. Without rehabilitation, most offenders will end up either homeless adding to our homeless epidemic or back into crime leading to more prison time.

Public safety issues effect more than just the criminal justice system.  Our prison systems are working towards rehabilitation, but it’s going to take continual effort with changes thinking outside the box.  The old ways are not working.

I believe relational justice must include God and His Great Love serving as the anchor for everything built upon it and will change the way our prisons function.  We will focus on making our offenders emotionally healthier from the inside out with tools to become better than when they entered prison.  This is instrumental in successful reentry before they’re released.

Punishment is never going to work being the long-lasting solution. Yes, offenders need to do time for their crimes, with their punishment meeting their crime, but they should be allowed to change before they’re released. And once they’ve done their time, they should be accepted back into society.

What good is it for society, much less the offender, to be released back into communities where incapacitation and preclusion rules?

Punishment can no longer be the sole answer.  Rehabilitation needs to exist along with punishment. Rehabilitation requires love and action. The vast majority of our incarcerated are never visited and/or encouraged and supported to help facilitate healthy hearts and minds.

Many chaplains, churches and nonprofits, along with our state prison systems, are transitioning into focusing on rehabilitation and God’s Great Love, but we need an army to stand on the front lines with the oppressed and fight injustice.

If deterrence worked, our prisons would be empty.

Transformation is a process. The opportunities have to outweigh the many obstacles. Transformation starts with the offender.  It starts with the offender taking personal responsibility for their actions and deciding to change.  It’s hard to take that initiative when one is not loved and/or supported.  Families need to get involved along with society.

Click here to continue reading more…

When Faith Is All You Have To Hold Onto!

When Faith Is All You Have To Hold Onto!

Sitting numb with fear, I gasp for air as if I’ve forgotten how to breathe.  I regurgitate, “I can’t breathe,” but no one hears my pleas for help.

To say I cried me a Noah’s Flood would be an understatement!

Adrenaline floods my system and surges like it’s trying to escape.  Tears of anguish leave me trembling.  My slumped posture screams defeat.

As I hugged myself through the confusion of the courtroom, my bundle of joy was swaddled away in handcuffs.  Unable to flee the situation, shock ricochets up his spine.  It was almost as if you could smell burning flesh.

The puffy face and eyes were a dead giveaway to the verdict and the pain projecting from my body.  The bailiff hands me a box of tissue; he knew one or two wouldn’t do through the many issues.

This is when you doubt what you were once so secure in!

Doing Time With God!

No one is prepared to lose a loved one.  More excruciating, parents are never prepared when their child becomes incarcerated.  The loss is compelling, lamenting the death of their future seems almost self-serving, even selfish.  But it is a death, a loss of hope and dreams, with an evil twist of life.  And oftentimes, it delivers more grief due to the shunning and loss of relationships.

As a victim of abuse and addiction, orphaned and tossed to and fro, add in depression and suicidal tendencies along with being a domestic violence survivor, these traumas have strengthened me and molded me into the beloved I am today.

But when my son was arrested, my heart was never prepared to undergo this battlefield, this loss, the stigma and longstanding costs; spiritual, emotional, relational, financial and physical.  These costs were associated with an event reiterating a generational stronghold of rage in need of being severed instead of being swept underneath the rug.

Scurrying up the strength to share my grief and remove the veil of shame I was hiding behind, one by one people started trickling away when they heard my son got into a fight and was doing time for his crime. 

Oh, how they hounded me and became my best friend only to hear the news flash. 

Once I opened up my heart, it was as if I had the plague…

I was ousted. 

The tragedy of it all, friends and family trickled away, leaving both my son and I unsupported and completely alone, but…

We were both doing time with God!

Family member’s searing attacks vomit, “I don’t give a shit about you.  I’m not coming to support you, I’m coming to do something about this.”

As if my 24-hour days weren’t enough…

That’s called performance-based love, bordering more along the lines of abuse.

Where’s the love in that statement?

Sadly, their “concerns” were full of hot air and never materialized into even a visit with my son.  Maybe it was better they didn’t communicate with him since their actions supported similar conduct as to why he was incarcerated than support filled with needed love, hope and patience.

Why is it people try to make you feel guilty and blame you for their own behaviors and actions?

I hope and pray I’ll always be able to own up to my mistakes while forgiving others for theirs…

Prisoners of Hope!

Being a prisoner of hope, seeing light despite the darkness, is helping me pour love into my son’s emotional wounds. I know what it’s like to make mistakes and be abandoned because of them.  Being wrapped in unconditional love and offered a second chance to start over is a treasure worth digging for.

Physical violence has no place in my life, God’s Great Love overrides any mistakes and bad choices one makes. Rebuilding my son will take a lifetime, but we’re all works-in-progress anyways, right?

When faith is all you have to hold onto, you continue to see how God restores and turns even our most painful trials into good. 

God ended up being my ever-present, faithful and dependable friend that held me and carried me through the roughest few years I have ever walked through. Without His Love, I would have isolated, become depressed and probably fallen into addictive behaviors (Jesus Juice ♥) when all hell was breaking loose. 

Through His amazing grace, I was able to press through and become a justice ambassador with marching orders to speak life that restores those incarcerated. 

After all, my God changes things…

This mess will be more than a message!

How do you cope all alone underneath all the shaming and rejection delivered by the world?

Acknowledging our Lord is with us holding our hand, never leaving nor forsaking us, empowers us with confidence to receive this gift that keeps on giving which overflows into our children. They’ll experience relentless, unconditional love! Love never stops loving!

Those who are loved by God, let His love continually pour from [them] to one another, because God is love. Everyone who loves is fathered by God and experiences an intimate knowledge of Him (1 John 4:7 TPT).

The God of all comfort broke through and transformed all my wailing into a whirling dance of praise!

Seemingly insurmountable challenges are the breakfast of champions for three years, two months, and ten days. But who’s counting?

A Mother’s Love Never Gives Up…

Do you know how hard it is to love when you’ve never experienced it before?

Mighty waves of restoration crashed upon me causing me to be stronger than ever before along with stepping into increase filled with life and love.  God’s love is enthralling.

Lifting up my eyes and looking about kept me from turning inward, focusing on myself and my suffering.  Pain is demanding, often suffocating.  It’s hard to believe that God is doing something in and through our lives when they’re riddled with pain, but that’s the blessing when faith is all you have to hold onto!

Until next time…